Did Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys Have UARS?

The hip-hop and pop music world was saddened to hear that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died at at the age of 47. He had been battling parotid gland cancer. As you may know, one of my hobbies is to analyze facial features, particularly jaw configurations in relation to one’s ability to breathe and sleep properly at night. I came across this picture on MSNBC, showing Mr. Yauch’s narrow and recessed mandible, along with a very narrow and pinched in nose. Having small jaws leads to airway crowding, predisposing to breathing problems while in deep sleep during muscle relaxation. 

There’s nothing more public about his health status besides his cancer, but one of his hallmark features was his raspy voice. If  he had upper airway resistance syndrome, it’s likely he also had laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. Besides aggravating hoarseness, reflux can also cause chronic oral cavity, nasal and lung inflammation, potentially leading to a multitude of health problems. It’s also very likely that he didn’t like to sleep on his back, and had unrefreshing sleep. Studies are beginning to show that lack of good sleep may also be a risk factor for cancer. 

All this is speculation, but celebrities are also modern humans, being susceptible to craniofacial features that can lead to sleep-related breathing disorders. Do you know of other celebrities that have small jaws or facial features?




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3 thoughts on “Did Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys Have UARS?

  1. Dr. Park,

    If these facial features contributed to Adam Yauch’s death, isn’t it a paradox how brilliant and productive he was years prior to his death ? Evidently, this deficit didn’t inhibit decades of creativity and contributions in the performing arts.


  2. Dr. Park has already commented many times on the trait of creativity he sees in people with UARS.
    My theory for this is based on the fact that sleep apnea increases neuroexcitotoxicity in the brain, via increases in glutamate. It has been shown that intelligence is correlated with an increase in glutamate receptors in the brain. glutamate is important in memory. however, too much glutamate will destroy neurons. Therefore, a moderate increase as might be seen in UARS may increase intelligence which may be measured as creativity. a more significant increase may do the opposite as brain cells are destroyed, which might be seen in hypoxic OSA. the brain cell death that occurs from glutamate exposure will also occur over time and will not affect outward intelligence/function until 80-90% of neurons are killed. therefore you may have someone who is very productive for a long time until they suddenly go into dementia, even though the process which led to this was not an acute process at all.

  3. My I.Q. in 1966 was confirmed to be 149 and with developed imagination and creativity. Born in the Dark Ages of Sleep Medicine, and by substantial circumstantial evidence, suffering from pediatric OSA/UARS with neurological disorders of depression, anxiety, ADD and aggression, I concur that the ability to express creativity and intelligence is real. A different thought process, inhibition, aggressive tendencies may push outward an alternate, sometimes inspiring or productive, emotion or motivation. But the numbers of who is may be small, and, truly, many statistically falter from the struggle with OSA/UARS. I suppose we could categorize individuals as High-Functioning with OSA/UARS as we do with Autism Spectrum Disorder (DSM-5).