Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Your face reveals snooze muddle risk
A team of researchers from the University of Sydney has developed an innovative method to analyse digital photographs of faces in order to determine an individual's risk of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
In conjunction with the Royal North Shore Hospital and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Professor Peter Cistulli and Dr Richard Lee have found that analysis of detailed measurements of the face from digital photographs can help doctors identify those most in danger of developing OSA.
"The novelty and potential clinical application of our work are very exciting and should hopefully lead to improved recognition and diagnosis of OSA in the community," Professor Cistulli said.
Four per cent of Australian middle-aged men and two per cent of middle-aged women suffer from OSA syndrome, while almost 50 per cent of middle-aged men snore during sleep: a symptom of OSA.
The disease is characterised by the repetitive closure of the upper airway during periods of interrupted sleep and is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Previous methods of diagnosis have involved expensive specialist assessment and overnight monitoring in a sleep laboratory, meaning the majority of OSA sufferers are as yet undiagnosed.
"This new approach is really a response to the critical clinical need to develop more readily accessible, non-invasive methods that can enable doctors to more efficiently diagnose larger numbers of patients," Professor Cistulli said.
Whilst being tested at the Royal North Shore Hospital the new test accurately diagnosed 76 per cent of OSA cases, yielding a higher success rate than the traditional clinical methods of questionnaires, medical histories and examinations.
Professor Cistulli's and Dr Lee's work has been recognised in two articles published in the latest edition of the international journal SLEEP and has been patented through Royal North Shore Hospital, who are hoping to commercialise the invention.
A new classification system of rare lung diseases in infants is improving diagnosis and treatment.
The system clears up considerable confusion about how to classify and treat diseases that are rarely seen by most doctors and pathologists, says Gail H. Deutsch, M.D., lead author of the multi-center study that developed the new guidelines.
Formerly, doctors used a number of different terms to label the same disease,” explained Dr. Deutsch, who is an assistant professor of pathology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. “In some cases, a disease with a favorable prognosis has been confused with a potentially lethal lung disease.”
The research was published in the first issue for December 2007 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health through its Rare Lung Diseases Consortium, included data from 11 medical centers in North America. Investigators reviewed 187 biopsies of children under the age of 2 who were being evaluated for diffuse lung diseases like interstitial lung disease (ILD), an uncommon disorder that affects the interstitium, or tissue between the air sacs of the lungs. Children with ILD commonly have prolonged respiratory symptoms of fast breathing and low oxygen levels and exhibit diffuse changes on chest radiographs. When the cause of their symptoms is not identified with blood tests or x-rays, a surgical lung biopsy is often needed for diagnosis.
In this study, the researchers were able to classify 88 percent of the 187 lung biopsy cases, and found a diverse spectrum of lung diseases that are largely unique to young children.
One-quarter of the lung diseases studied were grouped together under the label “growth abnormalities.” The best-known is pulmonary hypoplasia, in which prenatal conditions result in deficient lung growth. Another group of diseases was categorized as “surfactant dysfunction disorders,” which refer to genetic abnormalities of surfactant, a fluid, detergent-like substance that plays a critical role in keeping the air sacs of the lungs open.
Dr. Deutsch said that at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the other medical centers that participated in the study, the new classification system is helping pathologists diagnose children’s lung disease more accurately, leading in some cases to more appropriate treatment.
For instance, in the past, children with lung growth abnormalities might have been treated as though they had ILD and given steroids, which may not be an effective treatment for them
Posted by SANJIDA AFROJ at 9:15 PM