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In the news:
December 12, 2001: A good article on ABCNews.com pretty much summarizes everything you can read on this web site. We were intrigued by a comment that "There are studies suggesting that snorers have a higher incidence of hearing loss — possibly due to listening to their own snoring." We have always attributed our own hearing loss to too many loud rock concerts! We followed up with the author, Dr. Peter Fotinakes on this topic. The source of his comment was a 1973 report by M. Prazic. However, Dr. Fotinakes also pointed us to a more recent study of 219 sleep disorder patients that failed to find any connection between snoring loudness and hearing loss. By the way, how many of you knew that the medical term for hearing loss is presbycusis?
December 10, 2001: The December edition of the British Health Which? takes a look at clinical data supporting the claims of 8 over-the-counter snoring remedies. They looked at sprays, nose drops, an anti-snoring mouthwash, a mouthpiece, nasal strips and a nasal insert. Not too surprisingly, they find the validity of almost all claims scientifically lacking. They say that the packaging usually fails to state that the enclosed product "can only help certain types of snoring." For example, a nasal strip will probably not help someone who snores at the back of their throat. If Put an End to Snoring had written this article, we would have concluded that snorers should therefore take our questionnaire to help them select a remedy suitable for their snoring type!
November 28, 2001: A Detroit News snippet confirms that morning headaches signal that you may suffer from sleep apnea. A study of more than 800 people evaluated at the sleep center at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, N.H., found that patients who reported the most frequent morning headaches were more likely to have this disorder. In sleep apnea, breathing briefly stops, which causes more carbon dioxide, and less oxygen, to build up in the blood, likely causing morning headaches.
November 19, 2001: Italian researchers have found that 5.6% of children are habitual snorers (more than 1 in 20). As with adults, children are more likely to snore if they are heavier; suffer from rhinitis; have septal deviation or nasal obstruction. Children who had undergone adenoidectomy or had enlarged tonsils were at greater risk of being habitual snorers. Last, habitual snorers had a significantly higher concentration of hemoglobin in the blood compared with other children. Hemoglobin is the compound in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to body cells. This finding suggests that children who snore may build up their hemoglobin in order to compensate for reduced intake of oxygen ("oxygen desaturation") during sleep.
November 13, 2001: Women have lower incidence of sleep apnea than men due to their physical make-up, according to a study published in the November edition of CHEST Journal. The study, conducted on 78 male patients and 52 female patients, found that restricted breathing in men is due to changes in throat muscle tone during sleep, especially when sleeping in supine position (on their back). Upper airway resistance in women changes little during sleep, suggesting a more unobstructed airflow.
November 2, 2001: Sleep Solutions, Inc., has presented evidence that the in-home Bedbugg system is just as effective at testing for obstructive sleep apnea as overnight sleep studies conducted in sleep clinics -- at half the cost. The Bedbugg is ordered by your doctor and shipped to your house. You set it up yourself and use the system for three nights then send it back to Sleep Solutions, who will provide your physician with a complete sleep analysis. Compare this tool to another at-home device, the Sleep Strip.
October 14, 2001: Not exactly a news story, but Dave Barry is funny on any topic, even snoring. Here's a recent syndicated column.
September 26, 2001: Dentists should be consulted about snoring, according to this news release from the Academy of General Dentistry. They will either refer you to a sleep specialist or, for simple snoring, may suggest a mouthpiece.
September 17, 2001: In an article provocatively titled "Too Sleepy for Sex", HealthScout News reports on a survey that found that 80% of 4900 patients who snore were sleeping in separate bedrooms.
September 15, 2001: Doctors at University of North Carolina say they have improved the somnoplasty procedure by creating multiple lesions in the palate per session. This results in fewer overall sessions required and faster reduction in snoring. (The lesions shrink and stiffen the palate, thereby reducing the vibrations that cause the snoring.)
September 10, 2001: Encouraging follow-up data from the doctors who have pioneered "snoreplasty," which is the injection of a scarring agent into the palate to top snoring. 40 patients have now been treated. Nine out of ten feel the treatment has been beneficial. About 16% of the group treated in 1999 resumed snoring over time and needed follow-up treatment.
September 1, 2001: More positive news on oral appliances to treat apnea. A study of 22 sleep apnea patients in Switzerland showed that "dental plaster casts" were effective in treating the problem, with minimal side effects.
August 28, 2001: Hate your CPAP machine? Doctors in Australia have developed a mandibular advancement splint that they say can be effective even for those with severe sleep apnea. The splint consists of two hinged plates that keep the lower jaw from falling backwards when it relaxes during sleep, thereby keeping the tongue from blocking airflow. 15 of 24 patients tested were helped by the device. On average, episodes of sleep apnea fell from 30 per hour without the splint to only 14 per hour with the splint, the authors report. Snoring decreased by 65%, and the snoring was somewhat less noisy. (My link to this story has died, but here's something similar)
July 11, 2001: Women are more than twice as likely as men to say the snoring of their partner bothers them most, while women (ages 50-64) are four times more likely. This tidbit from Serta, rightly guessing that a quick survey would generate lots of publicity...
June 12, 2001: New research shows that sleep apnea, snoring and Alzheimer's disease may have a genetic link. This does not mean that snoring causes Alzheimers.
Latest statistics: Any thinking adult has a healthy skeptism of statistics, but we need them nonetheless to make sense of our world. Our snoring statistics page collects both research and the data points commonly used by the experts and would-be experts.
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