Friday, February 26, 2010

In the Pipeline: New Throat Spray for Sleep Apnea

A recent Chicago Tribune article reports that researchers have identified genes to target when treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The study indicates that drugs may one day replace tonsillectomies for kids with sleep apnea.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that two percent of children suffer from OSA.

According to the study, an estimated 80 percent of the almost 600,000 tonsillectomies performed each year are on children with OSA. The results were published online by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Many children with OSA have enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

The research compared tonsils that were removed from 18 children with OSA and 18 children with recurrent tonsil infections.

The researchers identified 47 genes that acted differently in children with OSA. They were able to block some of those genes from multiplying tonsil tissue.

A spray, pill or topical injection could be available in as few as seven years.

The research brings good news to parents who feel uneasy about their children having surgery. A medicine could lower the risks and complications accompanying treatment.

Untreated OSA can effect children’s development, thought processes and behavior. It can also lead to depression, bed-wetting, attention problems and heart disease.

Earlier this month, this blog reported on a Taiwanese study that examined how OSA affected children. In December, there was a post about new research indicating that urine tests may be able to detect sleep apnea in children.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.