logoNew Pro-Tech Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Pro-Tech Services Inc, Mukilteo, Wash, has promoted Robert Hezlep to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. He will oversee and develop the sales and marketing departments and will assist in the development of new business opportunities and products. www.pro-techservices.com.

Painless Shot May Eliminate Snoring
An injection in the back of the mouth called “snoreplasty” costs just $35 and is simple, effective, and relatively painless. It works by causing the soft palate to form scar tissue, which inhibits the palate’s movement and the snoring that the movement causes.

The procedure was explained at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, says a New Scientist article, “Snorers Silenced with Harmless Shot,” by Marina Murphy. It involves an injection of tetradecyl sulphate into the soft palate. The injection destroys some of the tissue in the palate causing scar tissue to form, the article explains, and stiffens the palate, reducing the amount of fluttering. The procedure also eliminates the need for a more drastic solution, cutting away part of the palate itself.

The technique was developed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda, Md, and can reduce snoring loudness from 11 decibels to 2. Out of the 27 patients treated, about a half dozen relapsed after a year or more as the scar tissue softened. Most of them were successfully re-treated.

logoStellate Outgrows Current Facility
Stellate, a Montreal-based company specializing in sleep and EEG diagnostic systems, plans to move to a modern, more spacious location this summer. The new building is being designed to accommodate its expanding teams of software developers, system integrators, engineers, trainers, and customer support professionals. (888) 742-1306; www.stellate.com.

Obesity and Craniofacial Abnormalities Associated with SDB
A study by Japanese investigators suggests that obesity and craniofacial abnormalities in sleep disordered breathing (SDB) patients may synergistically increase tissue pressure surrounding the pharynx, leading to an increase in closing pressure of the passive pharyngeal airway.

Writing in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Shiroh Isono, MD, of the Department of Anesthesiology, Chiba University School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan, along with four associates, evaluated 54 patients with SDB and 23 normal subjects. They found that positive closing pressure at two levels was associated with smaller upper and lower jaws. Obesity was associated with positive closing pressure at one of the two levels studied.

According to the authors, SDB patients have varying degrees of a smaller-than-average cross-section of the bony enclosures of the lower face at the pharyngeal airway level.

The study was published in the second of two January issues of the American Thoracic Society’s peer-reviewed journal.

A Forum on SIDS
On February 26, the CJ Foundation for SIDS, Hackensack, NJ, hosted the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome—A Forum on SIDS in Multicultural Communities at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, hoping to facilitate dialogue and awareness with regard to SIDS, behavior modification, and risk factor awareness within African American, American Indian, and Alaska Native populations.

Panelists and speakers included United States Senators and members of Congress, Cabinet members, health care industry experts, physicians, SIDS researchers, and parents of babies who died from SIDS.

“We believe it is extremely important to make the community aware of SIDS, to let everyone know about the CJ Foundation’s efforts to reduce SIDS deaths, and of the continued need to support SIDS research,” says Susan Hollander, president and cofounder of the foundation.

Sleeping Disorders Diagnosed by “Snore Box”
A portable machine developed in the United Kingdom can differentiate between normal snoring and sleep apnea. The “Snore Box” can be used at home and it works by monitoring the severity of snoring and measuring the patient’s blood oxygen levels by a device attached to the patient’s finger. Temporary drops in oxygen levels suggest that the patient has sleep apnea, while stable levels indicate normal snoring.

The invention, according to Jon Osborne, the surgeon who developed the device, will enable doctors to quickly determine patients who require surgery and “avoids unnecessary, painful, and often unsuccessful surgery for patients who won’t benefit from it.”

The Snore Box will be available in the United Kingdom in 2003.

Nellcor Puritan Bennett Updates Digital Sleep Software
Sandman Version 6.1, by Nellcor Puritan Bennett (Melville) Ltd, Ottawa, contains performance adjustments, such as loading and the saving of workspaces. Channel labeling for improved troubleshooting has also been enhanced.

Sandman Version 6.1 interfaces with the company’s newly released Sandman DC Expansion Box, for use with the Sandman Digital 32+™ Amplifier (SD32+). The small 8-channel DC Expansion Box allows for quick, clean, and easy interface to DC devices such as CPAP, bilevel, etco2, and pH monitors.

Nellcor Puritan Bennett (Melville) is a business of Tyco Healthcare. (800) 663-3336; www.sandmansleep.com.