The following article is part of coverage from the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting (AAN 2020). Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy made the necessary decision to cancel the meeting originally scheduled for April 25–May 1, 2020, in Toronto. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here catch up on the latest research intended to be presented at the meeting.

Men with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) have a tendency toward more severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), compared with women with IIH, according to study results intended to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN 2020).

Previous studies have shown that in patients between the ages 14 and 60 years, IIH is 4- to 8-fold more common in women, compared with men, and predominantly affects women of childbearing age who are obese. However, a diagnosis of IIH in men has been associated with a 4-fold increase in risk for OSA, compared with matched controls.

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The goal of the current study was to explore the association between sleep disturbances and the characteristics of IIH in men and women. Following review of 54 clinical charts and in-laboratory polysomnography test results, the researchers identified 27 patients with IIH (18 women, 9 men), and 27 age, sex, and body mass index matched controls without neurologic disease.

Although there were no statistically significant differences between men and women with IIH in terms of age and body mass index, there was a significant trend for more severe OSA to occur among men compared with women: mean respiratory disturbance index, 31.7 vs. 9.0 events/h, respectively (P =.07); mean apnea length, 19.1 vs. 12.6 seconds, respectively (P <.05); mean minimum oxygen saturation, 84.8% vs. 91.1%, respectively (P =.14).

The researchers had plans to report on a larger sample of men with IIH at the time of the conference, as well as ascertain gender differences in terms of whether the burden of IIH symptoms correlates with OSA severity.

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“Given the notable sex differences and the paucity of outcome data in males, it is unknown as to what extent, if any, management strategies for IIH may need to differ in males and females,” concluded the researchers.


Bingeliene A, Jairam T, Sundaram A, Boulos M. Sleep disturbances and idiopathic intracranial hypertension in men. Intended to be presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Visit Neurology Advisor‘s conference section for complete AAN 2020 coverage.