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Depression Improved By Treating Sleep Apnea

Update Date: Nov 25, 2014 02:25 PM EST

Treating sleep apnea could help decrease depressive symptoms, according to a new study.

After looking at study data from 22 randomized controlled trials, researchers linked treatment for obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) to reductions in depressive symptoms. 

Researchers also found that treating the sleep disorders had greater benefits in studies where there was a higher rate of depression at baseline.

Researchers noted that the latest findings reveal only modest improvements in depressive symptoms, and lack evidence showing that CPAP and MAD are more or just as effective as antidepressant medications.  

"This systematic review summarizes the available literature on OSA treatment, demonstrating that both CPAP and MAD treatment result in small improvements in depressive symptoms based on questionnaires. Our results illustrate that the greatest benefit of CPAP treatment on depressive symptoms may occur in populations with worse depression scores at baseline," researchers Marcus Povitz, Carmelle Bolo, and colleagues from University of Calgary, Canada, wrote in the study.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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