Forum · Does reducing fat in the tongue lower OSA?

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[-] Will +0 points · over 2 years ago

In a recent news story this was printed "This is the first study to show that fat deposits are increased in the tongue of obese patients with obstructive sleep apnea," study senior author Dr. Richard Schwab, co-director of the Sleep Center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center"

Is there any research that shows actions to lose tongue fat, via diet or tongue exercise, result in lower apnea?

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[-] Will +0 points · over 2 years ago

This is a summary of the study http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/10/schwab/

I do wonder if it is possible to reduce fat in the tongue. If so, what are the ways? Especially curious if liposuction concept works? Yes, I said it.

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[-] SusanR +0 points · over 2 years ago

Great question! There is more and more research examining how selective deposits of fat increase sleep apnea severity. Early focus was on the stomach, then the neck, and now the tongue. I dont know of any research looking at how tongue fat can be directly manipulated. However, there is interest in how general throat and breathing exercises might help (at least mild cases) of sleep apnea. Did you know that its been suggested that didgerdoo playing can help snoring?

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[-] Will +0 points · over 2 years ago

Thank you. I am aware of the Swiss study ion 2005 regarding the benefits of playing the didgeridoo. Unfortunately, no follow up research seems to be done and the initial study was generally deemed not as high on the credible research scale as many would have liked. I am mystified why no new work has been researched. The results show all participants improving. On average around 40% improvement in AHI. Which is not chump change in a percent improvement.

Am still wondering if heavy exercise of the tongue can reduce it's size. Best, Will

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · almost 2 years ago

From what I have read, exercising a specific body area does not reduce fat specifically at that area. Rather, it reduces overall. Otherwise I would say talking a lot would help! And clearly it does not.

Didgeridoo? Who would pay for the study to be done? Little profit in that. I say we crowd-fund it, and I'd like to try it!

So curious to know if general throat work as in playing Irish whistle is helpful. My AHI went down in study done after I had been playing a lot for several months. Other problems with that study, though.

I wonder if our cultural shift toward "receptive music" (listening) from "participatory music" (ie, singing around the piano in the parlor, etc) hasn't contributed to the seeming rise in apnea. Use it or lose it alas is true.

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[-] SusanR +0 points · almost 2 years ago

Although there is not alot of expertise in didgeridoo playing for sleep apnea, one of the few researchers who has studied this problem will soon be posting a review of what we know and what we might learn--stay tuned!

As you say, this area highlights the broader area of training of the how improving upper airway muscle tone and strenght-- including "myofunctional therapy" (exercises that target the muscles in the mouth and throat) may improve sleep apnea. In a recent review (Sleep. 2014 Oct 28. Volume 38; issue 5. pii: sp-00423-14. Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Camacho M, Certal V, Abdullatif J, Zaghi S, Ruoff CM, Capasso R, Kushida CA) it was estimated that the AHI might be reduced by 50% and snoring improved after such training.However, even after pooling all the available studies, the sample size was still rather small and follow-up limited to no more than 6 months. Also there needs to be work identifying how these exercises directly influence the characteristics of the airway muscles and what is the best training exercise regimen. But perhaps the biggest question is which patients would derive the most benefit.

How the "epidemic" of sleep apnea coincides with ways we are changing our use of voice and music is a really interesting idea, too! Need to bring some musicologists and antrhopologists into the team!

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · almost 2 years ago

Susan, Thanks for the helpful reply! Will see if I can find that study you mention.

I wonder if patients could self-select into which experiment they were interested in, my guess is one's interest would contribute to likelihood of efficacy, if there were any to be had! I'd do the didgeridoo or penny whistle. "Side" effects for the latter at least would be all positive!

And I love the idea of inter-disciplinary approaches.

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