The purpose of the SRP is to conduct rigorous research on Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) and help to build an evidence based foundation for managing and even preventing these conditions that have a profoundly negative effect on quality of life and overall health.  Dentistry has lead the way with innovative treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) that go far beyond the standard treatments in sleep medicine such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and invasive surgeries of the airway (e.g., removal of soft palate and uvula or UPPP); such therapies are known to be ineffective in many patients over the long term.

Current SRP clinical research projects include (1) the comparison of two popular designs of oral appliance (OA) for improving upper airway function, (2) improving pregnancy outcomes and sleep quality in pregnant women, and (3) brain metabolism and sleep quality in adults with mild cognitive impairment after using OA therapy. A fourth study, in planning, is focused on reducing atrial fibrillation, a serious heart condition, by using an OA in conjunction with a nasal breathing trainer.

Rationale

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) affects tens of millions of Americans.  Those suffering from a serious form of SDB, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), have diminished breathing, or stop breathing altogether for significant periods during sleep.  Those with OSA have significantly increased risks for dementia, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, depression, sleep deprivation, obesity and premature death.  In children, OSA can impair proper growth, social functioning and academic performance.  In pregnant women, OSA can negatively impact the mother and the developing fetus.

 We believe that dentistry, in collaboration with other health professions, can develop evidence-based diagnostic and treatment methods that can have a profound impact on improving overall human health.