September 14, 2013
CPAP Therapy Shown To Help Sleep Apnea Patients Get Their Beauty Sleep
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Telling someone that you need your beauty sleep may not be just an expression anymore, as new research demonstrates that sleep apnea patients appear to be more attractive – as well as more alert and youthful – after receiving two months of treatment for the disorder.
Writing in the September 15 edition of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Dr. Ronald Chervin of the University of Michigan Health System and colleagues reported that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) look better and sleep better after at least eight weeks of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
“This study showed that independent human raters – both medical personnel and members of the community – can perceive improved alertness, attractiveness, and youthfulness in the appearance of sleepy patients with obstructive sleep apnea, after they have been compliant with use of CPAP at home,” Dr. Chervin said. “These results show that the subjective impression of many clinicians, namely that their patients look more alert and sometimes more youthful after treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, may well be something that can be perceived by many other people.”
The researchers recruited 20 adults who suffered from OSA and experienced excessive levels of daytime sleepiness. Each subject had a digital photo of his or her face taken with a high-precision 3D camera both before and after undergoing a minimum of two months’ worth of CPAP therapy.
The images were then analyzed side-by-side using computer software to assess the volume and color of the face. In addition, 22 volunteers (12 medical professionals and 10 community volunteers) were recruited to look at the two images together, in random order, and rate each in terms of alertness, youthfulness and attractiveness.
Of the 20 subjects, an average of 68 percent of evaluators identified the post-treatment facial images as having a more alert appearance than the pre-CPAP picture. Furthermore, 67 percent selected the post-treatment photo as being more attractive, and 64 percent said that it was more youthful in appearance. Image analysis also found post-treatment decreases in forehead surface volume and decreased redness under the eyes.
However, Chervin and his colleagues said that they did not detect overly noticeable changes in other types of facial characteristics often associated with sleepiness. The post-treatment images did not document any improvement in a person’s tendency to have dark blue circles or puffiness under the eyes, they added, indicating that additional research was required to assess facial changes in a greater number of patients over a longer period of treatment.
Image 2 (below): These images are labeled to show which was taken before the patient had CPAP treatment for sleep apnea, and which was taken after. In the study, independent raters who didn't know which was which were able to tell the difference two-thirds of the time. A detailed analysis of these and other images also showed less redness and forehead puffiness after treatment -- though no improvement in dark circles or puffiness under the eyes. Credit: University of Michigan Health System