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John Delos points out that central apnea is quite different from the more commonly known obstructive sleep apnea, even though they both lead to cessation of respiration.

“Older people get obstructive apneas,” he explained. “The throat gets soft, and it closes when you inhale, and you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath. Central apnea means that the control system for respiration just stops sending the rhythm. If that control system is immature, then these kinds of things can happen.”