If you're someone who's never had to deal with sleep apnea, as I am, it may come as a surprise to learn that the most effective--and frequently prescribed--device to treat the disorder, CPAP, is an enormous, unwieldy in-the-vein-of-a-bad-Halloween-costume mask that tends to find its way to such places as the closet, waste basket, or list of inventions to improve before you die.
So it is with great relief that I, even with my lack of sleep apnea, have been tipped off to a new technique currently being tested in Belgium that, if effective, could do wonders for those whose health can seriously suffer from sleep apnea.
ImThera, a privately funded start-up, has developed a tiny neurostimulator surgically implanted near the tongue that is programmed to essentially keep parts of the tongue awake enough to not block one's airway at rest.
Called Targeted Hypoglossal Neurostimulation (THN) Sleep Therapy, the technique consists of a small electrical device implanted under the skin near the lower jaw and along the Hypoglossal (12th cranial) nerve, then connected to a programmable implantable pulse generator (IPG) implanted near the surface of one's upper chest. … Read more