SAN ANTONIO — Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), and the disruption in nightly sleep it causes, speeds up the aging process, according to preliminary research.
SDB is a common disorder that results in oxidative stress and inflammation and is associated with several age-related health disorders. However, it hasn’t been well studied with respect to epigenetic aging.
“To our knowledge, this study is the first empirical study that has linked sleep-disordered breathing with epigenetic age acceleration,” Xiaoyu Li, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.
The study was presented here at SLEEP 2019: 33rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Women are particularly vulnerable.
The study included 622 adults (mean age 69 years, 53% women) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). All participants underwent polysomnography; DNA methylation, a marker for epigenetic age acceleration, was measured in blood samples.
Age acceleration measures were calculated as residuals from the regression of each epigenetic age on chronologic age. The association of each SDB trait with age acceleration was estimated using linear regression, controlling for sociodemographics, health behaviors, body mass index, and study site.
Increasing SDB severity and sleep disruption were associated with epigenetic age acceleration, independent of measured confounders, Li reported.