Understanding Brain Differences in MRI Markers, Sleep-Disordered Breathing of Latino Individuals: Alberto Ramos, MD, MSPH, FAASM


The director of the Sleep Disorders program at the University of Miami discussed his research regarding the association of sleep disordered breathing and total brain volumes in Latino individuals. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"We know now that sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing is more of a heterogenous disorder, meaning there are different subtypes that may give us more granular information about what individuals are at higher risk for developing these brain findings that we observe in neuroimaging."

At the 2022 SLEEP Annual Meeting, June 4-8, in Charlotte, North Carolina, a study led by Alberto Ramos, MD, MSPH, FAASM, aimed to see whether white matter hyperintensities and decreased brain volumes were associated with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in middle-aged and older Hispanic/Latino adults. The cohort of 1119 Hispanic/Latino individuals were each evaluated on MRI outcomes of interest, which included gray matter, total brain, lobar cortices, and hippocampus brain volumes, as well as lateral ventricle volume, and total white matter hyperintensity volume.1

After adjusting for age, sex, and education, individuals with a respiratory event index (REI) greater than 15 had decrements in total brain volume (–6.115; 95% CI, –10.19 to –2.04; P <.01), total gray matter volume (ß = –3.702; 95% CI, –6.7 to –0.7; P <.05), and frontal cortical gray matter volume (ß = –1.844; 95% CI, –3.48 to –0.21; P <.05). Additionally, these patients had increments in hippocampal volume (ß = 0.138; 95% CI, 0.04-0.23; P <.01). Notably, the associations persisted after adjustment for Hispanic/Latino background and behavioral risk factors.

Ramos, an associate professor of neurology and research director of the Sleep Disorders program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, sat down with NeurologyLive® at SLEEP 2022 to discuss how he, and others in the field, can expand and learn from these findings. He stressed the need to evaluate MRI markers across all races to understand the disparities and who may be at highest risk for SDB.

Click here for more coverage of SLEEP 2022.

1. Ramos A, Gonzalez K, Tarraf W, et al. Sleep disordered breathing and MRI markers of brain aging in the Hispanic community health study/study of Latinos. Presented at: SLEEP Annual Meeting, 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, NC. Abstract 0322
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