London: Here`s some good news for those desperately seek an end to snoring at night -- researchers say they have developed a new sensor device, resembling a sticking plaster, to tackle the condition.
The device is stuck onto the patient`s top lip to monitor their breathing; when it detects a snore, it sends a short burst of sound, via a tiny earpiece, into the patient`s ear; and this stops the snoring without actually waking up the patient, say its developers.
Snoring occurs when the upper airways collapse during sleep, cutting off the airflow for up to 10 seconds at a time. There can be hundreds of these events a night.
The new lip device, currently being tested on 125 people at the Mayo Clinic in the US, consists of a plastic pressure sensor fixed to the top lip before sleep. This is stuck on with an adhesive strip, like a plaster, and secured in place with a piece of elastic that runs around the head.
The sensor measures air pressure as the patient exhales. It is connected to an iPod-sized control box, which constantly analyses the information it receives.
When it detects the patient is about to suffer an apnoea, it sends a short burst of sound to the earpiece. The device can emit hundreds of different sounds, and runs through them until it finds one that has the desired effect -- a rise in air pressure that means the patient is exhaling and that the apnoea has been stopped, the `Daily Mail` reported.
The signal is designed not to wake the patient, but instead to slightly "startle" the brain, rousing it enough for it to tighten the muscles surrounding the windpipe.
"Our research shows that the patients are not woken and they have no memory of hearing the sounds the following morning. They awake completely refreshed," said Jim Moore, from the company Dymedix which makes the device.