Sensing Sleep Solutions

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Sleep apnea—the chronic interruption of breathing during sleep—affects 15 percent of adults nationwide, but detecting the disease can be costly and time-consuming. That may soon change. Bioengineering Department Chair Khosrow Behbehani and his research team have designed an innovative ultrasonic sensor that, when attached to a patient’s neck during the night, detects whether his or her airway is open. The sensors are less cumbersome and less expensive than current detection systems, which usually require patients to spend one or more nights in a sleep laboratory. “For some the cost is such a barrier that they opt to continue to suffer rather than be diagnosed,” Dr. Behbehani says. “Making detection more affordable will allow more people to be diagnosed.” UT Arlington has applied for a provisional patent for the concept and technology and is partnering with Sleep Consultants Inc. in Fort Worth to conduct studies.

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