Sleep Apnoea – Serious health consequences but good treatment options

(L-R) Michael Bowes, Robert Adams, Nick Antic

More than 160 people attended the FFCMH community education seminar on Thursday 28 November at the Freemasons Hall to listen to presentations from Professor Robert Adams from the University of Adelaide, Mr Michael Bowes from Sleep SA and Associate Professor Nick Antic from the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health (AISH) at the Repatriation General Hospital on the the risk factors, health consequences, testing and treatment options for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).  The seminar was opened by Mr Robert Clyne OAM, Executive Director of the Freemasons Foundation and Centre Patron.

In a series of excellent lectures, references were made to Kermit the Frog’s distinct throat architecture, Homer Simpson’s snore converter (converts snoring into music) and the potential role of sleep disorders in recent political downfalls.  But on a more serious note,  the audience heard of the latest research findings from the North West Adelaide Health Study and the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study, two important longitudinal population studies, from which much of our new appreciation of the prevalence of OSA in males and the central role of sleep health in overall health and well being, has been derived. They heard of fascinating insights into sleep physiology gleaned from diagnostic sleep studies required to diagnose OSA and of the SAVE international clinical trial, which AISH is participating in, which provides strong evidence for the therapeutic benefit of continuous positive airway pressure devices for OSA.  In a clinical setting where current treatment options lead to excellent outcomes, the lack of evidence for some proposed methods for treating sleep apnoea, such as the Buteyko breathing technique, was, importantly, highlighted.

We thank Michele Thredgold for providing the pre-seminar entertainment.  Michele, blind from birth and suffering a form of sleep disorder, graced us with her beautiful medley of sleep songs.

The next community seminar, to be on the topic of prostate cancer screening and drug developments, will be on Monday 17 February 2014 at 6.00pm at the Freemasons Hall.

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