March 18, 2010

Friday Marks Third Annual World Sleep Day

If you enjoy sleeping, or have difficulty doing so, then tomorrow is your day!

Friday, March 19, 2010, is the third annual World Sleep Day.

World Sleep Day 2010 is an international event that, according to the event's official website, is intended to both celebrate the act of sleeping and to help raise awareness for bedtime-related issues, such as improving slumber quality and educating people about various sleep disorders.

The event is being sponsored by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM), a group comprised of sleep medicine experts from around the world.

In a press release announcing the event, posted online at the WASM website, the organization said, "While sleep is necessary to be alert and optimally navigate daily tasks, research shows sleep may also be a factor in growth, regeneration, and memory."

"With an estimated one third of adults suffering from clinically recognizable insomnia and approximately 80 additional sleep-related disorders, there is significant concern for the health consequences that occur with the lack of quality sleep," the media statement added. "Studies suggest that a lack of sleep is detrimental to health in ways such as the development of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and other chronic ailments in those who consume less than 6 hours nightly."

Among the companies helping to celebrate and spread the word about World Sleep Day 2010 is ImThera Medical, a privately funded company that has developed a tiny neurostimulation device, which is implanted near the tongue and is designed to help treat the estimated 38-million people who currently suffer from sleep apnea.

"Using a multi-contact electrode and a programmable pulse generator, ImThera's THN (targeted hypoglossal neurostimulation) system delivers muscle tone to key tongue muscles," Jennifer Kutz of Vantage Communications, serving as spokesperson for ImThera Medical, told RedOrbit via email on Thursday. "The system operates in continuous mode during sleep and functions in open loop, not requiring additional sensors or logic to detect the onset of Apnea or related events."

According to Kutz, the device utilizes a multi-contact electrode that connects to an implantable pulse generator (IPG), which is implanted in the upper chest and contains both an RF receiver and transmitter antenna. The device can be programmed externally using a patient's controller, and it can also connect to a PC for set-up, programming, and management using a specialized software program. The goal is to control the tongue muscles during sleep so that it does not restrict air flow.

"We are still in the first stages of clinical trials we cannot provide details yet such as the safety and efficacy of the device and how it compares to other therapies," she added. "Clinical trials will be performed under the required regulatory guidelines and results will be published once completed. What we can say is that several studies have shown that only 50-percent of patients comply with CPAP, resulting in only half of those diagnosed are receiving treatment"


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