Theme of study
Oxygen therapy can help in fighting dementia in individuals with lung disease.
Aim of the research
To establish the effect of supplying additional oxygen on both blood flow to the brain and blood vessel function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.
The researchers used ultrasound to view and measure blood flow in the brain in these patients at rest, before and during delivery of this additional oxygen.
The oxygen was delivered through the nasal passage for 20-30 minutes.
They also tested the link between brain activity and blood flow in the brain.
Participants began this test with their eyes shut, having opened them and then read standardised text.
This task was designed to increase activity in the brain. As a result, brain blood flow was expected to increase to provide adequate oxygen supply.
Focus of study
Ultrasound was used to measure the extent to which brain blood flow increased.
Pairing these ultrasound measures with a measurement of blood oxygen levels allowed them to estimate how much oxygen delivery to the brain increased during the eyes open reading test.
The research team found that blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain was significantly increased during reading.
This was due to blood vessels in the brain becoming dilated in response to the greater oxygen demand when the brain was active.
It can thus be concluded that when COPD patients receive additional oxygen it improves the function of blood vessels in their brain.
Result of study
Providing extra oxygen improves the function of blood vessels in the brain by matching blood supply to the demands of the brain activity.