Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Study Suggests Oral Appliance Therapy Might Be Ideal Treatment for Military Recruits

A new study published online by Sleep and Breathing found that oral appliance therapy might be the ideal treatment for military recruits suffering from sleep apnea.

Periodic leg movements (PLM) involve bursts of muscle activity during sleep. These bursts can cause arousals like those caused by sleep apnea.

Researchers believe PLM and sleep apnea often coexist. However, sleep apnea can mask PLM. When sleep apnea treatment is effective, PLM may become apparent. PLM can worsen daytime sleepiness, so it is important for a sleep specialist to know when it is present.

Previous studies have shown that effective CPAP treatment can unmask PLM. This study shows that oral appliances can have the same effect.

Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conducted the study.

It involved 21 active military members who suffered from sleep apnea. Fifteen men and six women participated. They were 25 to 53 years of age.

A dentist trained in dental sleep medicine fit each service member with an oral appliance.

Each patient took a sleep study without an oral appliance. Ten patients had mild OSA. Five patients had moderate OSA. And six patients had severe OSA. Three of the 21 people had PLM during sleep.

Participants took another sleep study wearing an oral appliance. In the second sleep study, 11 of the 21 people experienced PLM. These results indicate that the oral appliances helped unmask hidden PLM.

Oral appliances are portable, non-invasive and do not require electricity.

The researchers suggest that oral appliances are effective and ideal for military recruits.

Sleep and Breathing is the official journal of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.

1 comment:

  1. Another interpretation is that they, although improving the apnea, may be contributing to the PLM symptoms. Remember, OA's take up space, changing the internal size, shape and contour of the oral cavity as well as move the mandible. Given innervation to the tongue and the various directly and indirectly associated muscles with reflexes, not only is tongue position and contours in the throat, likely, influenced, many other reflexes are likely to be triggered. Basic Science!

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