(JNS.org) Israeli researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a new system to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) while the patient is still awake using their smartphone.
"We’ve developed technology that could help diagnose OSA and sleep disorders in a convenient way,” said Dr. Yaniv Zigel, head of Ben-Gurion University’s Biomedical Signal Processing Research Lab, and Prof. Ariel Tarasiuk, head of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Unit at Soroka University Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. “The audio-analysis application can record speech signals from awake subjects. Now, we will be able to get a fast, OSA severity estimation without an overnight sleep study.”
Under the current method of diagnosing OSA, patients must undergo polysomnography (PSG) to record brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing, and eye and leg movements overnight. But the new system does not require contact sensors and can be installed onto a smartphone or a different device that uses a microphone. The software analyzes speech while the patient is awake and evaluates overnight breathing sounds.
OSA affects roughly 3 million people a year in the U.S., with symptoms including snoring, restlessness and daytime sleepiness or fatigue.
Researchers have already tested the new Israeli-developed system on more than 350 subjects.
“We are excited about this non-contact sleep tracking system, which does not require patients to wear uncomfortable monitoring equipment on their body,” said Prof. Tarasiuk. “This application can also be very useful for CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine users who want to check the effectiveness of their sleep apnea therapy."
The researchers are currently moving forward with commercial applications for the new system.