A new study published in Frontiers proposes the use of mandibular jaw movements as a reliable and non-invasive measure of respiratory effort, which can provide valuable information for the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing.

Authored by Jean-Benoit Martinot and Jean-Louis Pépin, both scientific advisors to Sunrise, a maker of a chin patch home sleep test that analyzes mandibular jaw movements during sleep, the article highlights the importance of accurately assessing respiratory effort during sleep and the challenges associated with current methods. 

The article emphasizes the close relationship between changes in the mandibular jaw movements biosignal as a function of respiratory effort, which is similar to levels of respiratory effort measured by reference biosignals such as esophageal pressure or crural diaphragmatic electromyography. 

The automatic analysis of mandibular jaw movements using a dedicated machine learning algorithm delivers a comprehensive and clinically informative study report, making it an attractive option for physicians, according to the authors.

“Overall, the measurement of MJM (mandibular jaw movements) provides the clinician with deep insights into the work of breathing, including intra-event negative effort dependence patterns and differentiation between central and obstructive SDB (sleep-disordered breathing) events, including central hypopneas,” concludes the study. “Essentially, monitoring MJM is like having a probe in the brainstem to observe the regulating activity of the brain during sleep.”

According to a press release from Sunrise, the study highlights the potential of monitoring mandibular jaw movements in clinical practice and could pave the way for future advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing.