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Metamason: Revolutionizing CPAP Masks With 3D Scanning and 3D Printing

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the breathing-easy dept.

Medicine 59

First time accepted submitter Leslie Oliver Karpas writes As millions of Americans with Obstructive Sleep Apnea struggle to get a good night's sleep, one company has harnessed 3D technology to revolutionize CPAP therapy. As 3ders.org reported today, "Metamason is working on custom CPAP masks for sleep apnea patients via 3D scanning, smart geometry, and 3D printing." "We're at the crossroads of 3D technology and personalized medicine," says Metamason's founder and CEO. "There are many medical products that would be infinitely more comfortable and effective with a customized fit. CPAP therapy is the perfect example—it's a very effective treatment with a 50% quit rate, because mass-produced masks are uncomfortable and don't fit properly." CPAP is a respiratory device worn during sleep to treat OSA, which affects 1 in 4 men and 1 in 9 women in the US alone. Metamason's "ScanFitPrint" process for creating their custom Respere masks translates a 3D scan of the patient's face into a 3D printed custom mask that is a perfect individual fit. To print the masks in soft, biocompatible silicone, Metamason invented a proprietary 3D printing process called Investment Molding, which creates wholly integrated products that were previously considered "unmoldable."

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How do I get one? (2)

wonderboss (952111) | about 3 months ago | (#47528639)

Or buy stock in the company?

Re:How do I get one? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 3 months ago | (#47528807)

It does read rather like a commercial.

Re:How do I get one? (1)

meander (178059) | about 3 months ago | (#47531285)

A friend, who is a sleep apnoea specialist, said the most effective treatment was to lose 5-10kg of weight. That takes some weight of the lower jaw, so it doesn't hang so low when sleeping -> less loud noises/shitty partners/shorter lifespan.

I used to snore. I lost 5kg in weight, drank a bit less alcohol, and my snoring disappeared, except when really tired.

I was part of the biggest demographic of snorers. Yes, there are those that need better masks, but really, most are too fat or drink too much.

Yes, I applaud a better mask, it is needed. But really, most need a simpler fix, They are too fat.

Yes, you fix the fatty snorer with a gizmo, but there is the increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks, osteoarthritis, etc etc etc, which are not addressed. Focus on what is the real problem, not fixing a small part of the problem.

Re:How do I get one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47534345)

Do the obesity rates in the US explain the alleged prevalence of this disorder ("1 in 4 men and 1 in 9 women in the US") or is it because there's money to be made? Here in the UK (free healthcare), this isn't such a thing: according to the NHS, "In the UK, it is estimated around 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women have OSA". http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/sleep-apnoea/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Re:How do I get one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47535981)

Last year I lost 30+kg. Even running 30+miles per week, my sleep apnea was unaffected.

Re:How do I get one? (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 3 months ago | (#47536537)

I'm a fat bastard. I have sleep apnea. Maybe it would be fixed if I slimmed down (further). I'm working on it.

My boss has sleep apnea. He's 5'10" and 150 pounds. How slim do you want him to get?

While it's true that most sleep apnea patients are obese and the disease can be caused or made worse by obesity, a significant minority of the sufferers are thin.

Re:How do I get one? (2)

dotgpb (161780) | about 3 months ago | (#47532061)

I'd definitely like to try one.

Since it is 3D printed, hopefully they will also allow custom designs. I'd like mine to look like the breath mask portion of Darth Vader's helmet.

Re:How do I get one? (1)

Leslie Oliver Karpas (3764545) | about 3 months ago | (#47533641)

We are in the currently in the middle of a round, if you're interested in investing please connect to me through our website, linkedin or angel list... And thank you so much for your interest.

Seems logical... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47528753)

This seems like a sensible approach, I just hope that it isn't accompanied by a raft of broad and dubious patents that purport to cover pretty much any 'printing something to fit someone' application. That would both serve as ammunition against a broad range of printing applications and be unjustified given the things that have already been 3d printed for medical applications(usually on a small scale). If they have something more specific, covering programmatically generating customized deformable shapes for best fit, or some elegant manufacturing twist, that may well be all good; but it would be unfortunate to see something overbroad.

Re:Seems logical... (1)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | about 3 months ago | (#47529489)

There is prior art. My company has been scanning ears and printing hearing instrument shells for at least ten years.

Re:Seems logical... (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 3 months ago | (#47534393)

Just like adding "on the internet" to a patent description seems to negate prior art I'm sure "by scanning a person's face" rather than "by scanning a person's ear" will make it sufficiently "unique".

Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47528809)

Why wear a ziptronic 3-way supermask every night when you could eliminate your apnea by losing weight?

Re: Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47528817)

Because not all apnea is weight-based.

Re:Lose weight (1)

nmoore (22729) | about 3 months ago | (#47529007)

So how much should a 5-foot-6-inch male weigh in order to avoid obstructive sleep apnea? 120 pounds? 100? 80?

Re:Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529801)

So how much should a 5-foot-6-inch male weigh in order to avoid obstructive sleep apnea? 120 pounds? 100? 80?

I don't believe that OSA is solely based on weight; at my most fit (5'11, 175, and I play a lot of hockey) I still need that box every single night.

Re:Lose weight (2)

some old guy (674482) | about 3 months ago | (#47529611)

Idiot.

Re:Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530025)

sounds like somebody who doesn't know his CPAP from a hole in the ground!

Re:Lose weight (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530399)

> when you could eliminate your apnea by losing weight?

Because not everyone with sleep apnea has it because of weight issues.

Some people have deviated septum that cause the problem. Others like myself, have too much flesh in their nasal cavaties. I'm 6'2 and 170 pounds, and have always been told since I was 10 that I strop breathing in my sleep. Even after surgeries to remove my left nasal cavity wall, I still require a mask to stop me from snoring and choking at night.

Re:Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47531569)

Try working out while being constantly sleep deprived... and no, sleeping more doesn't help.

Don't forget, lack of sleep causes your body to mix signals and increase appetite due to loss of energy/fatigue!

Re:Lose weight (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 3 months ago | (#47536547)

As others noted elsewhere, not all sleep apnea sufferers are obese. I found it a lot easier to control my appetite and exercise more often after I got my CPAP machine, and I'm starting to lose a little weight without extraordinary effort - of course the first ten pounds is always the easiest. So it's not clear to me whether sleep apnea is caused by my obesity or vice versa.

Re:Lose weight (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 3 months ago | (#47531661)

To be fair, not all Sleep Apnea is due to obesity. However, about 60 or 70 % of adult Sleep Apnea is weight related.Alcohol consumption and smoking apparently also play a role.

You could argue that it is a self-inflicted condition for most people.Since most people can't lose weight and keep it off long term I guess you are stuck with the mask. Do you sound like Darth Vader when you wear it?

Re:Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47532387)

Why not do (thing X that you're not doing) that would increase your lifespan or mean you don't have to do (unpleasant thing Y)?

No matter who you are, I can fill in these blanks within 5 minutes of talking to you, guaranteed.

Hope you got your little easy ego-boost, though, hypocrite.

Re:Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47532665)

why don't you stop criticizing people to drop your blood pressure rate so you don't DIE.

Surprised that would take you up to 5 minutes. took me less than a minute to write this.

Re:Lose weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47535995)

Why waste time posting snide remarks about the disabled when you could just kill yourself instead. Please, do it. The world will be a better place without you.

Why is CPAP all over the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47528827)

Does this have something to do with all the little advertisements that say CPAP and seem to have a mask crudely edited into a photograph?

Re:Why is CPAP all over the internet? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47529129)

Does this have something to do with all the little advertisements that say CPAP and seem to have a mask crudely edited into a photograph?

I think that Newsmax, 'linkbait for reactionary old people', is behind much of that. They are ostensibly a political thing; but their advertising leans heavily into (sometimes rather dubious) tabloid medical reporting when there isn't a good red-meat issue to run banner ads about.

Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pillows (1)

mbourgon (186257) | about 3 months ago | (#47528851)

The overall design is... Nice. A couple clever bits. But custom printing and all that? Nonsense. They're showing the worst of the CPAP masks. I tried them too, they suck. Then you inevitably complain, and the company selling you supplies give you Nasal Pillows (image for the confused: http://www.soundoxygen.com/wp-... [soundoxygen.com] ). Works great, comes in 3 sizes. Bam, done.

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (1)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | about 3 months ago | (#47529587)

nasal pillows do not work for many people.

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#47529965)

I don't agree that nasal pillows are the solution to all CPAP interface issues. I tried them and preferred a nasal mask to the pillows for overall fit and comfort.

I do agree that custom 3D printing is nonsense to the problem. It would be much like people complaining that one pair of shoes were uncomfortable, and just deciding that 3D printing everyone's shoes to their exact foot is the answer. Or maybe they should just have tried on a different size, width, or style to find a better fit.

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530501)

Luddite. 3D printing is the solution to everything and the future of manufacturing. I know, because computers got better, therefore everything gets better at the same rate.

Soon, we won't do dishes anymore as we simply 3D print new plates at every meal. Not much later every meal will be 3D printed as well.

How can you not see the future, old man?

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47532697)

brilliant! need a new dump to put all these throwaway dishes in, PRINT ONE!

Idiocracy in action! it IS the future... might as well be the one that comes up with Ow my Balls! so you don't have to be the host of it!

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530503)

Right, bam, done because you throw the useless thing in a corner and at least get some sleep.

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (1)

bill.e.gloat (948787) | about 3 months ago | (#47530825)

When being fitted for mine, they had all the varieties lined up with pillows at then end. I *knew* before I ever got there that the pillows were the only solution for me. How could anything fit better than the one with the minimal amount of contact? I love my CPAP because I went 4 decades before being diagnosed and then they found I had over 50 events per hour. Several years later and I swear my health is still improving because this serious problem was finally discovered. I do believe the pillows could be improved though. Three sizes is insufficient. I'd like to see careful measurements of nostril spacing and diameter and be fitted that way, similiar to how eyeglasses are done. I am curious why pillows won't work for some though.

Re:Nice design, but it's just a better "nasal pill (1)

Sanians (2738917) | about 3 months ago | (#47535235)

I am curious why pillows won't work for some though.

For me, it's the same reason a nasal mask doesn't work: Air comes out my mouth. I looked this up on the internet, and apparently people either let their tongue touch the top of their mouth, or use some chin strap thing to keep their mouth shut. In any event, the impression I get is that it simply isn't a serious issue for other people. I'm not talking about a little bit of leakage. As soon as I fall asleep and stop consciously keeping the air from escaping my mouth, it all escapes from my mouth. ...but I don't know, maybe there's some undocumented solution to this problem that I don't know about since I can't seem to find a sleep doctor who isn't a quack and therefore insists that because I never remain asleep for a full ten seconds of not breathing before waking up that my sleep issues must be psychological. Who knows what they might tell me if they'd just decide they could help me.

I have a full face mask which is useless as all hell. I suspect a lot of the reason is that probably much of how the therapy is supposed to help is by forcing the tongue and lower jaw forward, but if you have the mask covering that area, there's no pressure differential, and indeed, the mask is just pushing the jaw further back.

Out of desperation I wasted some $70 on a cheap nasal "pillows" mask which, if I could name it, I'd call it a nasal rocks mask. Bits of slightly rubbery plastic with a few replaceable pieces of different sizes, but none of which address the fact that the center of my nose sticks down further than the sides. So once I have them in there and holding pressure, I have to carefully not move my head for fear of upsetting the delicate balance, and then I still get to wake up two hours later feeling like I've had a clothespin on that center part of my nose that sticks down. ...but by that point usually the duct tape preventing air from escaping my mouth is wearing off, so it's time to give up anyway.

Anyway, if a nasal mask could work for me, having one that is custom-designed from a 3D scan would likely solve my problems with the fit. I'm actually surprised people think this isn't a big deal. Noses vary in shape a lot, and so a nasal pillows mask is going to benefit from a 3D scan and 3D printing far more than other mask types would.

Simpsons test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47528867)

Does it play 'sweet dreams'?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLStjCIr6w4

Simpsons test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530313)

Does it watch you through a camera?

Good to see something counter to the trend (1, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#47528877)

U.S. Medical Device Industry In Critical Condition [forbes.com]

The United States has been the global leader in medical devices, one of the few major industries that both boasts a net trade surplus and is a job-creator. The sector employs 400,000 Americans directly and is indirectly responsible for almost 2 million more that supply and support the highly-skilled workforce. Most important, its products are essential elements of modern medical care, including everything from CT scanners and pacemakers to blood pressure cuffs and robots used by surgeons.

But all of that is in jeopardy. The medical device industry is being ravaged by unwise public policy, including a devastating 2.3% excise tax took effect on Jan 1 as part of ObamaCare. This tax, which has already required the payment of more than $1 billion by device manufacturers, is especially pernicious because it is assessed on gross sales, not profits. To put this in perspective, imagine that you’re a manufacturer of medical devices and had a profit of $100,000 on sales of $1 million after all your costs and expenses—everything from materials and labor to research. The excise tax would be $23,000, wiping out almost a quarter of your profits. .....

The nation’s medical device industry is vulnerable. It is not comprised of behemoths: 80% of its companies have 50 or fewer employees, the very businesses we are relying on to turn the U.S. economy around. The new excise tax comes on top of increased stringency and delays at both the FDA and the U.S. Patent Office, and at the same time that many device firms are shutting down or moving abroad to take advantage of the more favorable tax and regulatory climate in Europe. The tax is forcing companies to lay off employees, cut back on research and development, and reduce capital investment.

The Times They Are A Changing [pointsandfigures.com]

One sector that is seeing a rapid investment drop is healthcare and devices. That has hurt the North Carolina VC industry harder than it hurt Boston. It’s also subject to some longer term trends. Obamacare has a medical device tax buried in it-and it has caused money to pull back from taking risk in healthcare while everything gets sorted out. The FDA is a horrible bureaucratic organization to deal with, and they have made it hard to innovate

Re:Good to see something counter to the trend (0)

thesupraman (179040) | about 3 months ago | (#47529017)

'imagine that you’re a manufacturer of medical devices and had a profit of $100,000 on sales of $1 million after all your costs and expenses'

ROTFL, wow, that was a good one! Do you tell that to your mates over a few drinks after golf to get a good laugh?
A Medical devices manufacturer with a 10% profit margin? I think you missed a few zeros on that number..

Oh, and really? 'taking risks in health care'? You should take up standup! Really! You will have them rolling in the isles!

Re:Good to see something counter to the trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529517)

The nation’s medical device industry is vulnerable. It is not comprised of behemoths: 80% of its companies have 50 or fewer employees

If they were the least bit innovative they would just create some religious excuse as to why don't like to pay it.

Eric Garner did not have sleep apnea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47528895)

He was found guilty of selling cigarettes without collecting tax and executed very efficiently.
Now in fairness, he did resist arrest, so I guess you can't blame cops for doing what they are trained to do - kill black people.
Now, I caution you, don't turn this into a race issue. It's not. This is a totalitarianism issue. It's not just a US issue. You see the Nazi's couldn't stay in Germany after the war, and Stalin was already in russia. You can't have expected them to move to the middle east can you? Ethiopia? Columbia??!! No they moved here. Because we are "multicultural". Thàt means we kill anyone that doesn't where a badge and we prosecute anyone that doesn't work for the government. The rest of us buy and sell insurance and service contracts. It's really too late..It's too late for Eric Garner, and it's too late for us.

RE; say what!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530037)

What fresh BS is this!? Begone!

Invented? Really? (4, Informative)

thesupraman (179040) | about 3 months ago | (#47528991)

' Metamason invented a proprietary 3D printing process called Investment Molding'

I'm sorry, but I dont think so, its only of the oldest casting processes there is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investment_casting

I am going to assume they think they invented it by either 3d printing either the original material, or the mould directly.
And then I assume they call it moulding instead of casting as they use silicone not metal (of course..).

This is a VERY common process these days - what exactly have they 'invented' here? sounds to me like a business process
of making the moulds/masks to fit each client - revolutionary!

Re:Invented? Really? (1)

Leslie Oliver Karpas (3764545) | about 3 months ago | (#47536673)

Supra, Yes, investment casting has been around for thousands of years. But the difference between using metal and silicone is far more significant than your casual dismissal would imply. In the investment casting process, the heat of the molten metal cause the 'burn out' of the wax part... And that wax part is a positive. We're 3D printing wax tooling, and printing the negative. Our tooling is printed as a single part, very different than normal silicone molds with multiple parts and bucks, which yield partlines & flashing that must be removed. Our process has no part lines, hence no flashing, and this is only technologically possible due to printing, as the sinclastic geometries would be impossible in any other silicone tool that was not printed and then dissolved or melted. You are correct, there is a business process there- but the manufacturing process is novel. Oh and trust me on the metals bit- I was the lead tooling and mechanical designer for the team that built this out of stainless steel: http://www.nileguide.com/desti... [nileguide.com]

BUZZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529389)

This makes a lot of sense, but please fire the marketing drones that made up that terrible writeup that is clearly trying to use as many buzzwords as possible

This would be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529677)

As I sit here this morning nursing a bruise on the bridge of my nose due to an Ill fitting mask, I am definitely looking into something like this. I've tried nasal masks and pillows and neither work because I'm a mouth breather. I've tried every full face mask they offer and due to the shape of my face, I can't get a good seal without strapping it on very tightly. I can't wait to embrace my new face hugging overlords when they make these.

Re: This would be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529953)

Liberty Hybrid

This would be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529971)

I use the nose-only mask and I've found that if I strap it somewhat lightly but use the tension from the weight of the tube to finish the seal it tends to leave less of a mark on my nose. Worth a try maybe..

Re:This would be great (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 3 months ago | (#47530183)

Look for a hybrid apnea mask. Has nasal pillows and a lower portion that covers the mouth.

Why are people still using these machines? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47529987)

I have the most severe sleep apnea and am one of the 50% quit rate. Last year I got myself the AVEO TSD and it's been amazing. (No, I don't work in advertising for the company, I'm just a normal person who understands how dibilitating sleep apnea is and want to tell as many people as possible about something that truly works.) This 3-D printed mask may help a lot of people, but I think using the technology to print customized tongue suppression devices would serve us better.

Re:Why are people still using these machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47530435)

Because again, not everyone who has apnea has it the same way. My apnea is caused by too much mass in my nasal cavities, while others have it from a deviated septum.

Re:Why are people still using these machines? (2)

rogerrabit (2885897) | about 3 months ago | (#47530673)

There are multiple reasons why people continue to use these machines. The CPAP is a great tool and the one recommended against severe sleep apnea, the product has a reputation and is heavily promoted. Yet again, people lack education, they are usually not told by their MD that for simple snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea (the common one, the obstructive), the first medical recommandation should be a custom made dental mandibular advancement device or dental appliance such as https://www.pantheradental.com... [pantheradental.com]
These devices aren't to be confused with splints used to protect bruxors even though they may also fit that role.

The CPAP is more effective against sleep apnea than those dental appliances but makes noise, requires electricity, is a challenge to bring on trips and usually a lot less comfortable, wich is the problem adressed by the product advertised in the OP. The effectiveness of dental appliances is currently (in the latest studies) similar or even slightly better than that of CPAP because there is a lot more adherence to the treatment (lots of people can't go the whole night with their CPAP).

Whatever solution you go for you MUST NEVER USE AN OFF THE SHELF DENTAL APPLIANCE, those will give you SEVERE DENTAL PROBLEMS, there are lots of documented cases and FDA should never have approved those.

Re:Why are people still using these machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47532067)

I have the most severe sleep apnea and am one of the 50% quit rate. Last year I got myself the AVEO TSD and it's been amazing. (No, I don't work in advertising for the company, I'm just a normal person who understands how dibilitating sleep apnea is and want to tell as many people as possible about something that truly works.) This 3-D printed mask may help a lot of people, but I think using the technology to print customized tongue suppression devices would serve us better.

Hope you had a sleep study to go with that . . . because snoring isn't the real issue, it's lack of Oxygen.

The quit rate is so high because f****g doctors bill it as great and awesome. You go through all of this lead-up, no downsides, then you have to learn to sleep with SOMETHING STRAPPED TO YOUR FACE. It's logical and if you're cynical to start with, there's no real issue. I'm a stomach sleeper, need a full mask, and 80% of the time, wake up with a sore shoulder from it being in the wrong position.

Doctors and suppliers are still dumbfounded that I use it 100% of the time, the same optimists that lied to me going into it.

CPAP is going to stay around until Insurance companies get on the ball and start covering more weight-loss options because they don't see the long-term profits (they will if ACA doesn't get gutted by the people screaming 'job killer') of dealing with the underlying problem. Until then, it's band-aid the problem and (for some of us) avoid anything with fat/carbohydrates and try to work dedicated exercise time into the 9 hours of desk time, 2 hours driving during the week and catching up in the off-hours with raising your kids.

CPAP isn't a "very effective treatment" (1)

Sanians (2738917) | about 3 months ago | (#47531401)

it's a very effective treatment with a 50% quit rate

...or, it's a 50% effective treatment, and the 50% who it doesn't help just aren't willing to continue to use it for months like their doctor would like them to, despite their doctor's claim that "it's a highly effective treatment, it'll work if you just stick with it long enough." If you believe that, you should know that sending me $20 a month is a highly effective way to become rich. Those who fail to become rich simply fail because they don't stick with the plan.

...and if you're thinking "those doctors aren't that dumb" then you clearly haven't been to see one of them. Sleep researchers are some of the most retarded people on the planet. First of all, they discovered sleep apnea not because anyone noticed anyone wasn't breathing in their sleep, but rather, because they noticed spikes in blood pressure during sleep. Then, when studying the condition, they defined it around whether and for how long a person ceases to breathe, and to this day continue to largely ignore whether or not the person wakes up and the quality of their sleep. Sure, they look at those things, but they're not part of the diagnostic criteria. Now the doctors looking into UARS (upper airway restriction syndrome) are forced to be a little more intelligent about things since their patients never stop breathing, they just wake up, but unfortunately your local sleep doctor may have heard of UARS but doesn't really know anything about it and definitely doesn't test for it. So he'll just tell you that you slept only 50% of the night and woke up 50 times when you were sleeping for no reason whatsoever, then refer you to a psychologist.

...and the psychologist is just as retarded. Their whole profession started with some doctor who discovered a cure for a disease that cured only half of the patients. Did he think that his cure wasn't 100% effective? Did he think that maybe those other patients had a different disease with identical symptons? No, he thought it was just all in their heads. To this day, psychology continues to be where doctors send patients when they can't diagnose them, which makes the doctors feel good since, by blaming the patient's symptoms on their brain, they're able to achieve a 100% diagnosis rate, making them a perfect doctor.

Same thing with CPAP. Blame the patients for the failures and it's a 100% effective treatment.

Wish this was around a few years ago. (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 3 months ago | (#47531739)

My late wife could have used something like that for her BIPAP.

Overdiagnosed? (1)

bjs555 (889176) | about 3 months ago | (#47533175)

I'm sure there are serious cases of sleep apnea but it seems to be over-diagnosed lately. Mild cases used to be called snoring but now doctors and the highly profitable sleep clinics (some owned by doctors, others by hospitals) seem to be identifying snoring as moderate apnea and are recommending CPAP masks for it. Perhaps it would be better to try other apnea reduction methods first. I've read that back sleepers should try side sleeping for better nighttime breathing. And there are also pillows that lift the nape of the neck to keep the airway open at night. I'm wary of the dental appliances that do a similar thing since they might cause dental alignment problems when used long term. I suppose the insurance companies will sort it out eventually. It's amusing to watch the doctors vs. insurance companies battles unless you're someone who is affected. Regarding apnea, does anyone know where to get data on the percentage of people visiting sleep clinics who are diagnosed with it?

Note that there is a chart presented in the video accompanying the article that says people with moderate to severe apnea are as likely or more likely to die than those who smoke 20+ cigarettes a day but the units on the x-axis aren't labeled. 5 what? 10 what? Am I misreading something?

I doubt it's overdiagnosed. (1)

Sanians (2738917) | about 3 months ago | (#47535341)

I'm sure there are serious cases of sleep apnea but it seems to be over-diagnosed lately.

Can you tell me who is over-diagnosing it? I've seen two sleep specialists, and had three sleep studies between them, but can't get a diagnosis. At this point I'd be quite happy with a quack who has only made the diagnosis because he's an idiot since at least that would open up some treatment options.

I know I have it because it isn't that hard to diagnose. Just strap a mask to your face with a nice one centimeter hole for breathing and a pressure sensor to detect the minor changes in pressure under the mask as you're breathing. Combined with a home-built EEG, it's pretty simple to see what happens when I'm asleep: During every period of REM sleep, my airway becomes restricted, then I awaken, breathing returns to normal, then I fall right back into REM sleep, and it repeats. Can't get a diagnosis for it because, for some dumb-fuck reason, the criteria for diagnosis of sleep apnea has fuck-all to do with whether you sleep well and everything to do with whether you breathe well. Thus, as long as I keep waking up in order to continue to breathe, the doctors don't see a problem. SpO2 never drops more than 2 or 3 percentage points, they like to see it drop at least 4. Occasionally there's a period where respiration will stop long enough for their "it must be 10 seconds or it doesn't count" rule, but usually in response to that I wake up completely and can't fall asleep again for an hour. However, even if I did, its unlikely I'd meet their "five apneas per hour" criteria since they count total sleep time buy my problem only occurs during REM sleep.

Re:I doubt it's overdiagnosed. (1)

bjs555 (889176) | about 3 months ago | (#47535457)

Sorry to hear of your problem but congratulations on the convincing diagnosis using equipment you built yourself. Perhaps you could try some of the non-CPAP machine apnea reduction methods like the dental appliance (I don't think an inexpensive off-the-shelf model could do much damage short term) and, using the same diagnosis equipment, see if you wake up less frequently.

Re:I doubt it's overdiagnosed. (1)

Sanians (2738917) | about 3 months ago | (#47536671)

Unfortunately I think the problem is entirely inside my nose. I don't know what's going on in there, but it's incredibly prone to being congested, especially when I'm lying down. It isn't allergies, as antihistamines (even those prescription nasal sprays) and decongestants have no effect, and it doesn't seem to be caused by anything, it's just always present. The only relief I've found is the breathe right nasal strips and a saline nasal spray, which are only a half-working solutions, but anymore I can barely sleep at all without them, especially the nasal strips. I keep several in my wallet just in case I want to take a nap while I'm not at home because napping without them is so hopeless that there's almost no point in even trying. If I can't breathe through my nose, I simply wake up each and every time I attempt to enter REM sleep, presumably because holding the airway to the mouth open requires muscle tone that disappears in REM sleep.

Re:I doubt it's overdiagnosed. (1)

bjs555 (889176) | about 3 months ago | (#47537401)

You're probably correct in your diagnosis of a congestion problem in your nose or throat. No one knows you better than yourself. Maybe you have a deviated septum or larger than normal tonsils or uvula. There might be a surgical solution. If you can you breathe better through your mouth maybe you could try pinching your nose closed at night with something like the clips swimmers use and see if that changes things.

Speaking of finding true causes, let me tell you about a somewhat humorous diagnostic problem that I had recently. I bought a small house about 6 months ago. After I moved in, I started hearing thumping sounds that seemed to be coming from inside the walls. The sounds were especially loud at night and it went on for hours. It was hard to localize the sound; it seemed to be coming from everywhere, not from any spot in particular but it was very regular. I thought it might be plumbing noises like water hammer or heating pipe expansion. I shook every pipe in the house hoping to stop the noise or at least hear some change but couldn't find any pipe that seemed to be the noise source. The sound was so regular that I thought it might be a fan with a bent blade or a motor with a bad bearing but the sound continued even after I turned off all electricity to the house so I had to rule out that source.

After a couple of months I came to think that the sounds were due to thermal expansion and contraction of the house framing and considered calling in a structural engineer to see if there was a solution to that. I asked a couple of friends if they could hear the noise when it was loud to me but they said they didn't hear anything and that my hearing was probably abnormally sensitive. I decided to try recording the sound so I could turn up the volume and demonstrate it to a structural engineer. To my surprise I, couldn't record the sound even when it seemed especially loud to me.

Then one day I was scratching my wrist and noticed that the sound was exactly in time with my pulse. My heart occasionally skips a beat and the sound I was hearing stopped for one thump exactly when my heart stopped for one beat. I tried that test about 50 times and that convinced me that the sound wasn't coming from the outside but from within myself. The fact that nobody else could hear it and that I couldn't record it also pointed to that conclusion.

It turns out that I have a somewhat unusual form of tinnitus caused by turbulent blood flow in the carotid artery that excites my ear drum and mimics thumping sounds from the outside. I'm in my sixties and the tinnitus came on with advancing age. I would swear that the sounds are external but they aren't. I suppose our brains are so used to processing signals from our ear drums as coming from the outside that it's impossible to perceive the signals otherwise. It's comforting to know where the sounds are coming from even if there isn't much I can do about it. From this experience, I can see how some people think houses are haunted. At least I know I didn't buy a haunted house.

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