A kettle-like device that uses breathing exercises to strengthen the muscles in the neck and chest can banish heavy snoring.
The electric ‘kettle’ has a valve in the spout that partially blocks the airflow when a patient blows into it for ten or 15 seconds at a time.
This causes the muscles in the chest and throat to work harder to force the breath into the kettle – gradually increasing their strength.
Tensing muscles in this way is believed to make it less likely that tissue in the throat will collapse during sleep — a trigger for snoring.
Now a clinical trial is underway at Turku University in Finland to see if using the £200 kettle, called WellO2, every day for three months will cure sleep apnea – a snoring condition that affects nearly four million adults in Britain. affects, according to the Sleep Apnea Trust.
Now a clinical trial is underway at Turku University in Finland to see if using the £200 kettle called WellO2 every day for three months will cure sleep apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the airways, which naturally relax when we fall asleep, collapse completely; this shuts off breathing for at least ten seconds at a time.
Once the brain realizes that breathing has stopped, it sends a signal to the airway muscles to contract again. This opens the airway and the person normally wakes up with a jolt.
The cumulative effect is that patients — and their partners — feel exhausted during the day.
Sleep apnea has also been shown to raise blood pressure and increase the threat of stroke or heart attack due to reduced oxygen supply.
Treatment usually consists of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), where a mask is worn over the face during sleep. The mask is attached to a bedside machine that gently pushes air into the airways to prevent them from collapsing.
But some people find the mask cumbersome and research shows that nearly a third never use the device or leave it behind within a few weeks.
Previous studies have shown that strengthening upper airway muscles can help fight sleep apnea.
A historical study in 2005, by the University of Zurich in Switzerland, found that playing the didgeridoo regularly reduced snoring-related sleep interruptions and relieved daytime sleepiness.
This was because obtaining a sound from a didgeridoo requires significant breathing effort, strengthening the airway muscles.
The WellO2 boiler, developed in Finland, could be a more convenient form of muscle training.
After boiling tap water in the device and allowing it to cool slightly for a few minutes – to avoid burning the airways during inhalation – the user places their mouth over the plastic spout (which does not get hot) and exhales slowly for ten to 15 minutes. seconds.
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the airways, which naturally relax when we fall asleep, collapse completely; this shuts off breathing for at least ten seconds at a time
The one-way valve in the spout partially blocks airflow, so muscles in the chest and neck have to work harder to push air through.
It then takes a long, slow breath of ten to fifteen seconds to inhale steam from the device, which hydrates the airways and relieves any congestion that can also contribute to sleep apnea and snoring.
Tests have shown that regular use of the kettle can increase the strength of the muscles in the pharynx, the breathing tube that connects the nose and mouth to the throat. During the new trial, 50 patients with sleep apnea will use the kettle three times a day for two years. Researchers will look for a decrease in nighttime breathing interruptions and reduced daytime fatigue. Participants will attend a sleep clinic before and after the trial, where they will spend a night using a machine that performs a polysomnogram — a test of their breathing, brain activity, heart rate and movement, to assess their sleep apnea.
dr. Neil Stanley, an independent sleep expert and member of the British Sleep Society, said: ‘There is certainly some evidence that strengthening upper airway muscles can help reduce sleep apnea – anything that does will certainly be beneficial to some degree.
“But don’t try this at home with your kettle in the kitchen – you could get serious burns.”
Eating a protein-rich ‘caveman’ diet can stop heavy snoring in overweight women, reports a study from Umea University in Sweden.
Seventy overweight women (obesity is the greatest risk factor for sleep apnea) were fed a low-fat diet or a diet of Paleolithic foods — mainly lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — for two years. The results, published in the International Journal of Obesity, showed that weight loss in the cavemen’s food groups averaged 7.2 kg (15.8 lb) — double the low-fat diet — and sleep apnea symptoms decreased by 60 percent. percent, while they barely changed in the low-fat group.
Invite a friend over for dinner — eating alone can be bad for your health, research published in the journal Menopause suggests.
In a study involving nearly 600 women aged 65 and older, scientists in Korea found that heart-related chest pain was twice as common in those who ate more than two meals a day, and that they had an increased risk of obesity. , high blood pressure and heart disease.
One theory is that when people eat alone, people tend to eat more quickly, often leading to increased weight and increased blood pressure and blood fat levels, which in turn can increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, according to the study. the researchers.
Invite a friend over for dinner — eating alone can be bad for your health, research published in the journal Menopause suggests
Acid probe discovers tooth danger
A probe that measures acidity in the mouth can protect teeth from tooth decay.
The device, from the University of Washington in the US, shines an LED light on the teeth after they are coated with a special dye.
It then measures how light is reflected by dental plaque — high levels of caustic acid in plaque can affect how light is reflected.
Patients may then be told to focus on brushing high-risk areas to reduce the risk of cavities.
It is hoped that the information will also encourage patients to cut back on sugar, a key ingredient in acid formation.
Epilepsy drug to help treat Covid
A drug commonly used to treat epilepsy may help restore the sense of smell in people recovering from Covid infection.
Researchers in the US will give 50 patients different doses of gabapentin, usually prescribed for epilepsy and nerve pain, or placebo capsules for 14 weeks.
The drug is thought to be able to restore nerve function damaged by Covid by binding to damaged areas of nerves. Loss of smell is common with Covid and while it normally takes a few weeks, some people take a year or more to recover.