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January 11, 2017 11:22 am

Israeli Researchers Develop New Smartphone App to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

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Smartphones. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Smartphones. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Israeli researchers have developed technology using smartphones to conveniently diagnose sleep disorders in awake subjects.

Dr. Yaniv Zigel, head of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Biomedical Signal Processing Research Lab, and Professor Ariel Tarasiuk, head of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Unit at Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, announced the creation of an audio-analysis application that records subjects’ speech sounds to determine if someone has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other sleep disorders.

“Now, we will be able to get a fast, OSA severity estimation without an overnight sleep study,” Zigel and Tarasiuk said.

The tracking system is “non-contact,” meaning that the patient does not need to “wear uncomfortable monitoring equipment on their body,” said Tarasiuk. “This application can also be very useful for CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine users who want to check the effectiveness of their sleep apnea therapy.”

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Researchers have already tested the application on more than 350 subjects.

OSA effects roughly 3 million people a year in the United States with symptoms including snoring, restlessness and daytime sleepiness or fatigue.

Currently, sleep disorders are diagnosed by studying patients throughout the night and recording their brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing and eye and leg movements.

The researchers are now moving forward with commercial applications.

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