New research shows an increase in risky driving behaviours in older adults as sleep apnoea worsens - Most sleep apnoea apps found to be inaccurate, unreliable and liable to give false positives in new study - Sleeping Disorders Centre moves to online clinics - Try the Snore Centre Mobile App
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Snore Centre eNewsletter April 2022

New research shows an increase in risky driving behaviours in older adults as sleep apnoea worsens

A new study reported in Science Daily and published in Sleep last month puts a number on how dangerous such chronic tiredness can be, at least in regard to driving. For every eight additional breathing interruptions per hour, the odds of making a dangerous driving move such as speeding, braking hard or accelerating suddenly increase by 27%, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Older adults are more likely to develop sleep apnea. They also are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a car accident. The findings, available online in the journal Sleep, suggest that screening older adults for sleep apnea and for treatment, if needed, may help older people continue driving safely for longer.

"The percentage of older adults with mild sleep apnea is 30% to 50%, but if such adults don't have daytime sleepiness or other evidence of impairment, they may not come to medical attention," said co-senior author Brendan Lucey, MD, an associate professor of neurology and director of Washington University's Sleep Medicine Center. "However, these findings suggest that we might want a lower threshold to evaluate older adults for sleep apnea and track their breathing interruptions. If their conditions worsen by just eight interruptions an hour, that could have significant adverse effects on their driving and their risk of suffering serious injury."

People 65 and over are the most responsible drivers on the road. They obey speed limits. They drive defensively. They avoid driving at night, in bad weather and in unfamiliar places. But the changes that often come with advancing age -- such as deteriorating vision, slower reflexes and, yes, difficulty sleeping -- can undermine even the safest habits.

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Most sleep apnoea apps found to be inaccurate, unreliable and liable to give false positives in new study

In a systematic review of sleep apnoea apps published in February 2022, researchers analyzed study results for 10 consumer-direct smartphone apps intended for the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing. These researchers concluded that the apps are generally not as accurate as traditional options and lack scientific validation.

Overall, these apps have proven to be “inaccurate and affected by a lot of variables, and none of them record true sleep,” according to Abhinav Singh, medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center in Greenwood. “None of the information collected by these apps is submissible as valid medical information in the patient’s chart,” he said in an interview with Pulmonology Advisor.

A 2018 systematic review determined that out of 73 sleep apps examined, only 3 had been tested for clinical validity in comparison to PSG, and all 3 studies reported weak correlation between the apps and PSG. One of these 3 apps was the focus of a 2015 study in which the app demonstrated high accuracy in sleep-wake detection (85.9%) but lacked correlation with PSG regarding sleep efficiency, light sleep percentage, deep sleep percentage, and sleep latency.

Another concern is that patient use of such apps could potentially increase the burden on sleep medicine specialists. This is due to the high rate of false positives produced by sleep apps, as well as the difficulty involved in analyzing and interpreting the non-standardized data generated by sleep apps.

In select cases, Dr Singh does occasionally recommend that patients use a snoring detection app for the purpose of gathering preliminary information or to increase patient awareness about their snoring. This approach is especially helpful “when the patient doesn’t have a regular bed partner to comment on their snoring, or for patients trying non-CPAP options such as posture therapy.”

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Check out the redesigned Sleeping Disorders Centre website 

Sleeping Disorders Centre moves to online clinics

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 attending hospitals and clinics in person has been difficult and potentially involves the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus. Therefore, the Sleeping Disorders Centre's services are now available  online for both NHS and private patients.

We are able to deliver the same high quality service either via telephone or online, organising all aspects of care remotely: including sleep studies, diagnosis, CPAP fitting, delivery, maintenance and long-term care.

This means that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep-related and ENT conditions are still able to access first class care from Mr. Oko, Professor Dhillon and the rest of our clinical team. Our mission to raise awareness of the suffering caused by sleep apnoea, and enable those affected to live normal lives through fast diagnosis and effective treatment, is still continuing depite the challenges of the pandemic.

The Sleeping Disorders Centre's private clinic has moved from Harley Street to The London Digestive Centre, in partnership with HCA Healthcare. All appointments with Mr. Oko are taking place by phone or online, and in person appointments continuing with Prof. Dhillon.

Contact details

Private patients
The London Digestive Centre
41 Welbeck Street
Telephone: 020 3797 7248



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