This blog originally appeared on Alex Lucio’s WordPress website here.
Wondering what’s happening in the world of sleep apnea and sleep disorders? read on below to see a news roundup of the latest reports.
This profile about a girl living with sleep apnea (the daughter of American Sleep Apnea Association’s (ASAA) chief patient officer Adam Amdur) gives a good idea of what the illness is and the dangers of a severe case. Mia inherited adenoidal face syndrome, or “long face syndrome,” from both parents, and at age two once stopped breathing 27 times during one night. Her case required some plastic surgery to her face and a CPAP mask that gives her air while she sleeps, but thankfully, as a nine-year-old girl she seems to be doing fine.
Three years ago, football star Ryan Jensen’s career was in jeopardy. Despite getting eight hours of sleep per night, he was always tired; he kept losing weight and was so sluggish on the field that he was cut from the Baltimore Ravens. Even his loved ones noticed a change in behavior, as he was always acting angry now. Eventually his wife discovered that he was not breathing while he slept, and a home test revealed that he had sleep apnea. After getting treatment, Jensen credits his diagnosis with saving his career.
Gary Elias, a former employee at the Arizona State University, has filed a case with the Arizona Board of Regents over discrimination for his sleep apnea. Originally his supervisors gave him flexible work hours and allowed him to work from home in order to accommodate his condition, but in December 2014 a new boss revoked them. As a result he says that he “experienced severe daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and significant anxiety,” performed poorly and was eventually fired. The case was filed on August 31 and will have its first pretrial conference in November.
A new treatment could help people with severe sleep apnea. Called “Inspire,” this nerve stimulator can be turned on before sleep and then prevents the tongue from blocking the air passage, allowing those with the condition to breathe normally. This would replace the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks which are worn to supply air during sleep; these masks can be difficult to clean, and are cumbersome when one travels. Inspire was approved for use in the United States in 2014, and five-year trials seems to show that users are doing well.