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UH and UTHSC Researchers Diagnose Sleep Apnea Using New Non-Contact Method


NSF Offers Live Webcast for Reporters

Researchers at the University of Houston (UH) and University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) have tested a new method of detecting sleep apnea and hypopnea from a distance, using thermal infrared imaging (TIRI). The method is capable of extracting breathing waveforms and monitoring airflow. This study is the first of its kind to diagnose sleep apnea using noncontact technology. The findings are embargoed until Nov. 1 when they will be published in the November issue of the journal SLEEP.

“During a sleep study a subject has an average of more than 20 sensors attached to the head and body. “It’s a very complex procedure where many physiological parameters are simultaneously monitored to help in the diagnosis of sleep disorders. However, these sensors can disturb sleep and contribute to the patient’s anxiety,” said Jayasimha N. Murthy, M.D., assistant professor of medicine from the Division of Pulmonary Critical Care Sleep Medicine at UTHSC. “With technologies such as thermal imaging and computational physiology, we hope to ‘unwire’ ‘wired subjects’ during sleep studies.”

“In contrast to the traditional one-dimensional methods, this new method is an imaging one and thus, multi-dimensional” said Ioannis Pavlidis, Eckhard-Pfeiffer Professor, UH department of computer science. “We now can see how airflow is distributed locally throughout the extent of the nostril. We get not a single, but multiple values for each nostril at every point in time and this makes a lot of difference when it comes to appreciating subtle pathology.”

In advance of the embargo expiring, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is conducting a live web press conference for interested media at 2.p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23. Co-investigators Pavlidis and Murthy will discuss their research findings and take questions from reporters. Media can watch the live Web teleconference by going to www.science360.gov/live, username: webcast, password: sleep. Limited phone lines are also available. For access to a teleconference phone line contact Shawn Lindsey, selindsey@uh.edu, (713) 743-5725. Journalists must honor the embargo.

WHAT:
Live Webcast Press Conference, Groundbreaking Sleep Apnea Study
Featuring Ioannis Pavlidis, Eckhard-Pfeiffer Professor, UH department of computer science and Dr. Jayasimha N. Murthy, assistant professor of medicine from the Division of Pulmonary Critical Care Sleep Medicine at UTHSC

WHEN:
Noon, Thursday, Oct. 22

WHERE:
www.science360.gov/live
Username: webcast
Password: sleep

The webcast will remain on the NSF Web, password protected, through Nov. 1.

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