Recently, a new device has been tested in hopes of curing sleep apnea. The magnetic device, called Magnap, uses two magnets to hold open air passages at night. The closure of these air passages causes sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder characterized by repeated disruptions to breathing during sleep. Men, the elderly, and the obese tend to be the most at-risk for sleep apnea. In the United States, 20 million people suffer from apnea.
How Would The Magnap Help?
The Magnap would replace the often-used CPAP machine with a small, surgically implanted device. A magnet would be anchored to the hyoid bone, and coupled with a second magnet that is locate in an external orthotic device. The orthotic device would be used to advance and stabilize the hyoid bone during sleep. The magnet within the orthotic device would be held in place over the neck by magnetic attraction to the internal magnet. The device contains a pressure sensor and data logger to monitor breathing patterns during sleep. The amount of force applied to the hyoid bone can be adjusted, depending on the severity of your sleep apnea.
How Would The Magnap Impact Everyday Life?
The device can be activated so that it is only active at night, and thereby will not have an effect on speaking, swallowing or breathing. Tests have revealed that the only side effect is temporary throat soreness. You would be unaffected while you are awake, as the device is not in use. The implant is small in size, and hidden within the soft tissues of the neck. The surgical implant is also reversible.
The external device is simple to use, and is comfortable, as it is fitted to you. You would also need to wear a special tag so that first responders would know not to put you in an MRI.
Where Can I Get This Product?
Unfortunately, the product is still in testing stages at the University of California-San Francisco. The hope is that larger-scale trials could begin as in two years.