Cooking away the noise
It seems a strange idea...heating your
palate until it shrinks, but radiofrequency tissue reduction (RFTR)
increasingly looks like an effective approach to treating snoring.
A new study of 47 patients finds that:
- Snoring is significantly reduced
- Three or four lesions at a time are
better than one -- patients required fewer treatments and were more than
twice as likely to be cured after 2 treatments
- There was "minimal" relapse of snoring
after 16 months
- More lesions meant more pain, but it
couldn't have been that much more, as the multi-lesion patients didn't
need more pain-killers nor did they take more time off work.
RFTR -- also known as
-- involves pushing a needle into your soft palate and heating the
surrounding area using radiofrequency energy. This causes the tissue
to shrink. It's less painful than surgery and costs less -- but more
than another emerging technique for tissue reduction,
The long-term effectiveness of snoreplasty -- the injection of a scarring
agent into your throat tissue -- is still unknown.
The new RFTR study was conducted at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and
published in the September issue of
Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
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Feature article: My Snoring Story
by Dennis Freeman
At the risk of being thought egotistical, I've chosen
to feature my own story-in-progress for
this inaugural issue.
I never thought I'd end up trying to
make a living from a web site on snoring.
My career started after
graduating with an MA in Broadcasting. Then a few years as a TV
reporter and freelance journalist; then finding my footing and moving
rapidly up the marketing hierarchies at several hi-tech firms. In 1996 I
landed a job as Senior Director of Product Marketing at a software firm in
At this point, my career
stalled; I lost my sharpness and zest for the job. I no longer devoured
trade publications. I found myself sitting at my desk wishing it was 5pm
so I could go home. I fell asleep in meetings.
Send me your own snoring/sleep story, we'll use it in this slot.
Nothing that unusual, I told myself. A mid-life crisis. We all slow down
in mid-career. Maybe I'm depressed. My doctor prescribed Prozac. I felt
better but it didn't re-energize my work performance. When the hi-tech
meltdown came, my company probably didn't think too hard before including
me on the lay-off list.
Now about this time, I became engaged to a wonderful woman who seemed to
like everything about me except my snoring. I can fix that, I thought, and
began to look for snoring cures. There are hundreds of snoring remedies
out there. None of the easy ones have solved the problem: not nasal
strips, nor throat sprays, nor pills.
Turns out I have mild sleep apnea. And here's the point of my story: apnea
causes daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration, depression. Everything
I'd been experiencing in the past few years, in fact, could arguably be
attributed to my sleep disorder.
Being out of work gave me time to dig into apnea issues. It's clear that
doctors frequently fail to diagnose mild or moderate sleep apnea, which is
a pretty common problem, especially as you get older. Untreated, apnea
will become worse and can be life-threatening. It raises your blood
pressure, and increases the risk of stroke or heart attack.
So I have established Put an End to Snoring, with its questionnaire that
will, I hope, alert some people to the fact that they're
Snoring out an
SOS. And I'm still working on my own snoring problem.