Study: Implant Could Help Sleep Apnea Sufferers

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_1ec241048e.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- For the millions of people who suffer from sleep apnea, an issue that can wake sufferers by causing them to stop breathing in their sleep, there may soon be a more tolerable solution than the bulky and uncomfortable masks that are currently in use. Doctors at Case University have developed a nerve-stimulating device that can be implanted in the upper airway. The implant uses painless shocks to keep the tongue forward and the airway open.

The results of their study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The doctors found that sleep apnea sufferers breathe better at night when the device is on.

The implant is not yet available in the United States, though further studies could show whether the implant is a real difference maker to sleep apnea sufferers, who are also at higher risk of heart disease, depression, weight gain and fatigue.

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