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Body & Brain

Blood pressure decreases with apnea treatment, vitamins fail to protect against colorectal cancer, and more news from this week’s medical journals

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11:16am, October 18, 2012

Treating apnea improves blood pressure
Strapping on a motorized breathing device before hitting the hay does more than relieve the daytime drowsiness caused by obstructive sleep apnea. A new study finds that many people with the breathing disorder who use the machine at night experience a decrease in blood pressure. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Hines Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Hines, Ill., analyzed medical records of 221 veterans, average age 63, who began using a sleep apnea machine to improve their night breathing. Doing so knocked seven points off their top blood pressure number, on average, and three off the bottom number over three to six months of use, the researchers report in the Oct. 15 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Blacks saw a substantial decline in both numbers whereas whites had a reduction only in the top number, on average. The study is first to review and document the effect of sleep apnea

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