Should Sleep Apnea Really be the Best Defense in a Trial?

We’ve heard it several times already, “sleep apnea made me do it” or “sleep apnea is the reason I fell asleep.” Is this argument always valid? Should we pay closer attention to those who claim they suffer from sleep apnea? These are all important questions, and while we don’t want to lessen the severity that sleep apnea has on an individual, we also don’t want to overuse it. In a New York Post article, sleep apnea appears to be a lawyer’s new favorite criminal defense.

The Charge

On a flight, a 21-year-old woman had her earbuds in and hood up while she was eating her in-flight lunch when a large middle-aged man sleeping next to her appeared to jump awake. At first, the man grabbed the woman’s shoulder. Soon after he went around and grabbed the woman’s right breast. The groping from the large man lasted about 30 seconds before fellow passengers could pull them apart. The woman’s attacker was brought up on federal sex-abuse charges.

The Defense

In response to the federal sex-abuse charges, the man’s lawyer presented a bizarre defense that has been used far too often. And, that’s a shame for those who actually suffer from this condition. He said, “Sleep apnea made me do it.” The man was eventually acquitted.

Can you believe that? A deadly condition like sleep apnea is not one to be used lightly, and when someone uses this condition as an excuse, it can give sleep apnea a bad name. We don’t want that to happen.

What We Can Do

We’ve seen this happen far too many times now, but what can we do about it? While we can’t change the opinions, we can continue to educate our patients. Through proper education and treatment, we can not only help our patients live healthier lives, but also understand the true definition of this condition.

From train crashes to cases of sexual abuse, where do we draw the line? I wish I knew the answer to this, but I believe that the more we educate ourselves, employees, and patients, the more we can avoid these situations. Whether it is preventing a crash through proper treatment, or allowing for people like the man in this story to not get away with sleep apnea as an excuse for touching a woman by providing proper education, we need to stay strong.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition, and we need to continue to provide the services we offer in order to educate the masses.

Can Sleep Apnea Treatment Improve PTSD in Veterans?

I recently read an article on a study focusing on CPAP treatment and PTSD in veterans. In this study, researchers found that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms improved in veterans with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who were treated with CPAP therapy. After reading this article, my question is: will oral appliance therapy have the same results? I definitely think the chances are high!

The Study

There were 47 veterans recruited, with 40 completing the study. Of those participating, 20 had mild-to-moderate PTSD and 18 had severe-to-very severe PTSD. Researchers found that improvements in PTSD correlated with the duration of CPAP usage, and veterans with severe-to-very-severe PTSD had larger improvements in symptoms.

The only significant predictor of overall improvement in PTSD symptoms was the amount of time the veterans used the CPAP machine. The findings of this study indicate that treatment of OSA reduced PTSD severity and diminished frequency of nightmares. With prolonged CPAP use, veterans continued to experience an improvement in PTSD symptoms.

Oral Appliance Therapy

While there doesn’t seem to be an available study on the use of oral appliance therapy in veterans with PTSD and OSA, we can use CPAP therapy as an example. For veterans with PTSD symptoms, he/she might be CPAP non-compliant or just not like the treatment. The availability of oral appliance therapy for our patients allows us to successfully treat OSA, while also potentially improving PTSD symptoms in veterans–it’s worth the try!

Contact my office to learn more about oral appliance therapy and what we as dentists can do to help our patients.

The Sleep Apnea Device Market has a Bright Future

I have some exciting news to share! The sleep apnea device market has a bright future and that’s great news for us dentists! So, what’s the outlook? Well, by 2020 it is estimated to reach a worth of about $5.3 billion. In the report “Sleep Apnea Devices Market by Product, Diagnostic (PSG, Pulse Oximeter), Therapeutic [CPAP, APAP, BPAP, Masks (Full Face Mask), Oral Appliances (Mandibular Advancement Device)], End User (Home Care Settings, Hospitals) – Analysis & Global Forecasts to 2020”, the major market drivers, restraints/challenges, and opportunities were analyzed and studied.

In the report, as presented by marketsandmarkets.com, the global sleep apnea devices market is studied for the forecast period of 2015-2020. As of 2015, the market was at $3.7 billion, but by 2020, the market is expected to reach $5.3 billion at a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period. With 2015 being the highest growth of the market, we will continue to see a growth spurt at the highest rate yet.

A Look at the Forecast

The regions for this study included the following areas:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • The Rest of the World (Latin America, Central America, and Africa)

We saw North America with the largest share in the sleep apnea market in 2015, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. However, the European market has projections to grow at the highest CAGR rate during the target between now and 2020.

ResMed, a major player in the market, continues to observe a strong focus on innovation. Through such a rich pipeline of innovative products in the market opens up so many opportunities for treatment of sleep apnea.

Remain ahead of the game by providing the best treatment options for sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy. Together we can help our patients get a better night’s sleep. To learn more about sleep apnea and available treatment options, visit www.mpateldds.com. You can also view upcoming lectures to help you continue to learn more about this growing industry.

Oral Appliance Study Displays Success

We never needed further proof of the success of oral appliance therapy, but it doesn’t hurt to hear more about it and reaffirm its input. In this recent study, we can see just how successful Narval appliances are in the treatment of sleep apnea. Let’s take a look…

The Background

In this study, mandibular repositioning devices (MRDs) are usually recommended as the first form of therapy for patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Unfortunately, though, data on the long-term efficacy of MRDs hasn’t been readily available. This is not only true for patients with OSA who are noncompliant with CPAP, but also in those with more severe OSA.

To get a better understanding of the success of oral appliances, such as MRDs and the Narval appliance, the ORCADES study[1] aimed to determine the long-term efficiency and tolerability of two custom-made Narval MRDs for the treatment of OSA patients. The study was completed over a three to six month period of time.

Eligible patients suffering from OSA who also refused or were CPAP noncompliant, were studied. The outcomes were measured after gradual mandibular advancement titration, which included AHI, oxygen saturation, sleepiness, symptoms, quality of life, side effects and compliance. And, drumroll please! Here are the results…

The Results

Of a total of 369 patients involved in the study, overall MRD treatment was successful in approximately 76%. Additionally, complete response to treatment with MRDs was achieved in 64% of participants.

The study also treated severe OSA with MRDs, and about 60% of the participants were effectively treated with about 38% having completed symptoms resolution. As a result, the use of MRDs in the treatment of sleep apnea significantly decreased a person’s sleepiness, and eliminated symptoms while improving their quality of life. Treatment with MRDs were very well tolerated and compliance was at its highest rate.

Custom-made appliances, such as Narval MRDs, are effective forms of treatment for mild to severe OSA, as well as for patients who are CPAP noncompliant. Keep this study in mind when informing your patients of proper treatment options, as well as sharing with referring doctors.

 

 

 

 

[1]  Vecchierini, M. F., Attali, V., Collet, J. M., d’Ortho, M. P., El Chater, P., Kerbrat, J. B., … & Mullens, E. (2016). A custom-made mandibular repositioning device for obstructive sleep apnoea–hypopnoea syndrome: the ORCADES study. Sleep Medicine, 19, 131-140.