March 12, 2013
Here’s another study finding and accompanying article that offers hope of perhaps finding a “pill” for obstructive sleep apnea, rather than the conventional options the we currently have available (CPAP, dental options, and surgery). The researchers identified one of the main mechanisms of the switch that turns off muscle tone when you’re in REM sleep (the dreaming state). As mentioned in past posts and teleseminars, apneas and hypopneas are most common in stage REM, when your muscles are most relaxed. The study researchers found a way to reverse this process in rats.
The problem is that rats may have REM sleep, but they don’t have obstructive sleep apnea, since they can’t talk. Modern humans’ unique ability to talk and communicate created upper airway anatomy that predisposes to upper airway obstruction. The other problem is that REM sleep stimulates brain areas that are needed for learning and memory consolidation. Human infants spend 50% of their sleep time in REM sleep.
If you give a pill to block the muscle paralyzing process that happens in REM sleep, then you’ll end up moving around, talking and acting your your dreams. Your brain is wide awake during REM sleep, but with your muscle relaxed (except for the eyes and the diaphragm). This is probably not a good idea. There’s even a sleep disorder called REM sleep behavior disorder, where due to brain damage in areas that affect this particular switch, older men act out their dreams during REM sleep. This condition has a high association with developing Parkinson’s disease later in life.
Lastly many of the anti-depressant medications that are are prescribed diminish REM sleep, thereby lessening time spent in REM sleep. This could lead to improved mood, since you’re not having as many apneas.
Unfortunately, I don’t ever see a pill in the future that can truly compete with the three mainstream options already mentioned. As stated before, obstructive sleep apnea is an anatomic and craniofacial problem, and not directly a biochemical problem.
February 1, 2013
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that’s usually treated by urologists with medications. In the sleep medicine literature, there are numerous studies showing that many men with ED have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and that treating OSA can significantly improve or even cure ED. Here’s one of many papers (PDF). Even in my practice, men oftentimes comment that this is a positive side effect of CPAP.
Here’s another study that reiterates the known association between ED and cardiovascular disease. There’s no mention of sleep whatsoever. We also know that obstructive sleep apnea is a major risk factor for heart disease. It’s frustrating to know that most of these men will never have their obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed or treated.
I’m not saying that all cases of ED are due to OSA. But even if 50% of patients are improved, wouldn’t it be worthwhile looking into this possibility? Not to mention that once you’re able to sleep better, things can begin looking up again :)
December 31, 2012
• What other options are there when CPAP doesn’t work?
• Are dental devices effective?
• What are my surgical options?
• Do tongue exercises, acupuncture or didgideroo playing help to cure sleep apnea?
• What about Provent nasal plugs?
Please fill in your information below to access the free MP3 recording:
November 2, 2012
Click here to purchase MP3 recording ($17).
PDF of slides (free).
October 10, 2012
In this Expert Interview I’ve invited Dr. Ira Shapira, founder of IHateCPAP.com. We’ll talk about the main reasons why people hate CPAP and what you can do about it.
He’ll answer the following questions:
Please fill in your information to receive your free MP3 recording:
September 13, 2012
Here’s a not-too-surprising study: Teens with metabolic syndrome (hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, insulin resistance) were found perform worse in school than their counterparts without metabolic syndrome. Even more telling is that their hippocampuses were significantly smaller. We know from another study that in patients with untreated sleep apnea, the hippocampus can be significantly smaller. The good news is that treatment with CPAP actually caused new brain cell growth in this area, with improved cognitive performance scores, but never catching up to baseline states.
July 24, 2012
Sorry, but this program has been canceled. Please look for more upcoming Expert Interviews and Ask Dr. Park programs.
June 25, 2012
Despite the medical community’s insistence that sleep apnea and depression are two completely unrelated conditions, it’s hard to ignore study after study showing that treating obstructive sleep apnea can significantly improve signs and symptoms of depression. Here’s another study that was presented at the SLEEP meeting in Boston last weekend.
Oftentimes, a very high proportion of people with obstructive sleep apnea have clinical depression. It’s estimated that about 24% of men and 9% of women have undiagnosed sleep apnea, going as high as 64% in people over 65. It’s also estimated that only a small fraction of people with sleep apnea are ever diagnosed, with an even smaller fraction of those that are diagnosed being treated effectively. Given these numbers, the implications are huge.
Yes, there are multiple other reasons for clinical depression, but knowing what we know about the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, shouldn’t all mental health professionals first rule out obstructive sleep apnea before prescribing medications or long courses of psychotherapy?
June 14, 2012
Topic: Expert Interview: YOU As The Expert On CPAP
Speaker: Expert CPAP users (YOU)
Please enter your information below to access your free MP3 download.
May 11, 2012
I was recently interviewed by the staff at Sleep-Apnea-Guide.com, which is a great resource for people with obstructive sleep apnea. It was a very in-depth interview where we talked about my work and various other issues important issues. You can read the full transcript here.
Some of the questions I get asked include:
- How did you become interested in sleep apnea surgery?
- As a busy surgeon, how do you have time to do run your website and do your programs?
- How do you decide who can benefit from surgery?
- Why do modern humans have more sleep apnea?
- How do I find the right surgeon to treat sleep apnea?
- Any advice for people who are considering surgery for sleep apnea?