The Walking Dead: Sleep-Deprived Zombies Are For Real (Podcast 26)

Interview with Dr. A. Joseph Borelli

This is a special interview with a returning guest, Dr. A. Joseph Borelli. As you may recall, he was on our show with us in the past talking about brain dysfunction and sleep apnea. In this episode, we’re going to about the Walking Dead: How Sleep-Deprived Zombies Are For Real. 

In this 60 minute interview, we will cover the following:

  • How sleep apnea damages autonomic nervous system centers in the brain
  • Can brain damage from OSA be reversed?
  • The connection between OSA and atrial fibrillation
  • Can heart damage from sleep apnea be reversed?  
  • The difference between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS)
  • Why UARS is harder to diagnose
  • Newly discovered lymphatic system in the brain and implications
  • How CPAP may cause intracranial hypertension
  • And much, much more.

Show notes:
Dr. Borelli’s past interview on brain health
University of Pennsylvania cardiology study
Dr. Borelli’s Discover article
Dr. Deborah Wadly’s paper on resolution of intracranial hypertension with jaw surgery 
Placebo article in New England Journal of Medicine

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6 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Sleep-Deprived Zombies Are For Real (Podcast 26)

  1. Fantastic show – I continue to struggle with getting a clear diagnosis. Dr. Borrelli’s struggle to find a center who actually does not predetermine the results was interesting along with the balance of the show. Additionally I have tried 4 times to get my insurer to pay for more then a simple home study only to be denied all 4 times by some Doc who has never seen me or knows how tired I am. I have had to step aside from two senior jobs because I cannot think straight or stay focused. I was also encouraged to learn the brain might be able to “heal” I’d i can get to the bottom of this.

    Do you know if it would be possible to talk with Dr Borelli? Or, how to get in the Standord sleep clinic?

  2. This was so interesting, as I’ve experienced POTS and heart issues during my struggle with UARS. Because of my fragile sleep, I was not able to tolerate CPAP and will be having MMA surgery next month, which will hopefully be the start of a new life with better sleep! The question I had upon listening to the podcast was that Dr. Borelli mentioned that he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation 1.5 years ago. Isn’t this after he was successfully treated for his sleep breathing? It was encouraging to hear that the heart and brain can heal, but Dr. Borelli’s experience of developing AF seems to imply that the damage lingers. Thanks for any input on this.

  3. Very interesting podcast. I have Narcolepsy and moderate sleep apnea obstructive type.
    I am using a cpap everynight but sometimes it gets uncomfortable and I have to take it off in the middle of the night.
    My question has to do with monitoring my blood oxygen level. I know that I stop breathing even when I am sitting up and fall asleep. Because I have Narcolepsy, I do fall asleep while sitting up.

    I am considering getting a monitor to wear on a finger that has a ringer that goes off if blood oxygen levels go down. Do you have a suggestion for which one I should get?

    I have a second old cpap and I am considering taking it to work and using it when I take a planned nap.

    I also have been recently dx with elevated blood pressure. My upper number is high but the lower number is low. ie 159/60. Taking Losartan 50 mg 2 times a day. Losartan helps a little. Today pressure was 134/56 when I woke up this morning after sleep for about 6 ir 6 1/2 hours with my cpap.

  4. I also found this podcast especially interesting and helpful, especially since I have a friend with POTS. However, I was amazed when you said that the intrathoracic pressure is the same as the cpap pressure because it can’t be. As the air goes thru the resistance in the upper airway, the pressure drops; this is pretty simple physics. The only way the pressure would be the same is if there were no resistance at all in the upper airway.

    I do agree that you don’t want the pressure to be too high (or too low) below the upper airway.