Scientists develop magnet implants to stop snoring

BUZZ Fam, if you have a partner that snores, good news, there is hope that you’ll be sleeping better at nights soon.

You know, time and time again, scientists have worked to find the ideal treatment for snoring, and the latest technology that is being tested are magnets.

The pull of two magnets is being used to keep the airways open at night to treat obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition that causes the airways to narrow during sleep, interrupting breathing.

You see BUZZ Fam, when we are asleep, the muscles at the back of the throat relax. For most people, this does not cause a problem, but for those with sleep apnoea, the airway becomes so narrow, breathing is blocked for at least ten seconds.

Once the brain realises breathing has stopped, it sends out a signal for the airway muscles to contract again. And that opens the airway and the sufferer normally wakes with a jolt and a snore. And you get annoyed.

People with severe OSA, sleep can be interrupted every few minutes.

Symptoms include loud snoring and gasping noises when asleep, as well as tiredness and irritability during the day. OSA is most common in men over the age of 40.

Being overweight, drinking alcohol and smoking are also risk factors.

Scientists at Mount Zion University Hospital in San Francisco have implanted this new magnetic technology on six people.

The Magnetic Apnoea Prevention (Magnap) device uses the type of magnet found in computer hard drives and bicycle dynamos to keep the airway open.

The magnets have an erosion-proof titanium coating and it is claimed that they can be safely left in the body for years, once implanted.

One, the size of a 5p coin, is surgically implanted on the hyoid bone, the U-shaped bone found at the root of the tongue in the neck. The surgery takes around an hour.

Four weeks later, once the inch-long incision has healed, the patient is equipped with a second magnet — contained in fabric that is tied around the neck.

This second magnet is attracted to the one implanted in the neck, creating a gentle pulling force which keeps the airway open.

Different-sized magnets can be used to increase or reduce the attraction depending on the size and shape of the patient’s neck.