This Aura 6000 Sleep Therapy system aims to conquer sleep apnea – which is a serious and health threatening ailment – by stimulating the muscles of the tongue with an electrical charge during the night. Ghastly as it sounds, the developers believe that this is an effective way to stop the tongue falling back into the throat which is the cause of the loud snoring and the obstruction of the airways.
They reckon there are nearly 40 million people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in the US alone, some of which need serious help, usually in the form of a CPAP positive air pressure machine to force air into their mouths at night. This new system would remove the need for this type of clunky device, which is relevant since a good proportion of sufferers cannot use these masks.
The bad news? The electrode of this new system has to be embedded in the lower jaw and the rechargeable pulse generator implanted under the skin in the chest area. The good news is that early trials in Brazil indicate that the system works as planned. Further trials are scheduled for next year in Europe. More here.
It is understood that the problem with most OSA patients is that during sleep the tongue falls backwards into the throat and obstructs normal nighttime breathing. THN Sleep Therapy stimulates the nerve that provides motor innervations to tongue muscles. During sleep most muscles relax. This is true of the tongue muscles as well. By providing gentle stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve, normal daytime tongue muscle tone is restored to key muscles and the tongue does not fall into the throat, the airway is kept open and the patient can once again breathe normally during sleep.