Pivotal to assessing the amount of individuals who suffer from sleep apnea, researchers at Curtin University in Australia have created a computer simulation program to analyze breathing airflow in the throat. According to the study, the program creates a 3-D model of the throat, which can be analyzed while the patient is awake.

“What our study suggests is that OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) could be identified, even when the individual concerned is awake and breathing normally,” said researcher Julien Cisonni in a released statement. “It is likely that more than half of the people affected by OSA are not aware of it.” The development of innovative tools based on airway scans and flow simulations would ease OSA diagnosis and facilitate early intervention.