Technology UK

Once-a-night pill could stop your partner snoring for good, scientists say

If your partner snores, you’ll likely be used to sleepless nights with a pillow placed firmly over your ears.

But the days of not-so-gently nudging your partner to get them to be quiet could be a thing of the past, thanks to a new once-a-night pill.

The pill, called AD109, has been developed by pharmaceutical company Apnimed as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition characterised by snoring and interrupted breathing at night.

Dr Larry Miller, CEO of Apnimed, said: “Obstructive Sleep Apnea represents a significant public health problem in the US and around the globe and current treatment options do not meet the needs of patients.

“We believe that AD109, an oral drug candidate dosed once-daily at bedtime, could be a significant breakthrough for these patients.”

The days of not-so-gently nudging your partner to get them to be quiet could be a thing of the past

Current treatments for sleep apnoea include uncomfortable mouth guard-like devices, or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which blow air through a mask you wear at night.

Alternatively, some patients may be offered surgery, although this is only helpful in a handful of cases, according to the British Lung Foundation.

Dr Miller added that AD109 gives patients a ‘simple, safe, and effective solution that does not require a CPAP device or surgery.’

The pill is taken once-daily at bedtime, and can be used to treat patients with mild to severe snoring issues

AD109 targets neurotransmitter levels in the central nervous system, activating upper airway muscles and maintaining an open airway during sleep.

It’s taken once-daily at bedtime, and can be used to treat patients with mild to severe snoring issues.

So far, the drug has undergone a Phase I clinical trial, during which 24 healthy adult volunteers were given the drug for at least seven days.

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Thankfully, the results showed that the drug was well-tolerated, and there were no side effects.

Apnimed now hopes to begin its Phase II trial, in which the drug will be tested on 140 patients.

Dr Miller added: “We look forward to initiating a Phase 2 study with AD109 in Q4 of this year.”

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Headlines UK

Eureka! The once-a-night pill that can banish snoring by easing the symptoms of sleep apnoea

A Pill taken at bedtime could stop snoring for good.  

The new tablet eases the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) — which affects up to two million people in Britain, causing heavy snoring and, sometimes, interrupted breathing.

Initial results from clinical trials suggest the night-time pill may ease these problems by up to 74 per cent.

Both men and women can get OSA, but it is most common in men over the age of 40; obesity is one of the main risk factors. It occurs when the muscles in the airway, which naturally relax as we fall asleep, completely collapse.

The snoring sound is caused by air being forced through a smaller gap in the throat and, when the muscles collapse completely, this can shut off breathing for ten seconds or more.

The new tablet eases the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) — which affects up to two million people in Britain. Pictured: A man wears a sleep apnoea mask (file photo)

When the brain realises breathing has stopped, it sends out a signal to contract the airway muscles, which normally makes the person wake with a jolt.

In severe cases, sleep can be disturbed every couple of minutes.

Treatments usually include lifestyle changes such as losing weight, cutting down on alcohol, sleeping on your side, and using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, a mask worn over the face during sleep that gently forces air into the lungs to stop the airway from collapsing.

However, some people find the mask cumbersome and research suggests nearly a third never use the device, or abandon it. A once-a-day pill is seen by some sleep experts as the Holy Grail of sleep apnoea treatment.

The new tablet, currently code-named AD109, contains two existing medications.

The first, atomoxetine, has been around for nearly 20 years and is widely used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, by increasing levels of a brain chemical called noradrenaline, which helps to improve concentration.

A once-a-day pill is seen by some sleep experts as the Holy Grail of sleep apnoea treatment (file photo)

A once-a-day pill is seen by some sleep experts as the Holy Grail of sleep apnoea treatment (file photo)

U.S. scientists developing the new pill believe noradrenaline also stimulates the release of cells, called motor neurons, that keep airway muscles in good condition — reducing the risk of them ‘collapsing’ during sleep.

The other drug, oxybutynin, is usually prescribed to patients with urinary incontinence, stopping embarrassing leaks by reducing spasms in muscles that control the bladder.

In the throat and airway, oxybutynin is thought to act on receptors that make the muscles controlling the tongue contract — effectively holding it in place, rather than blocking the throat and causing snoring.

Neither of these drugs is currently used to treat OSA, but a 2018 study, by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, U.S., in which the two drugs were given at the same time to 20 snorers, revealed a powerful effect after just one night.

Some patients went from suffering an average of nearly 30 breathing interruptions an hour to just seven — a drop of 74 per cent – with symptoms improving from the first night in some cases.

Patients’ blood oxygen levels — important for heart and brain function — also increased significantly as they were able to get more air into their lungs.

Now a U.S. firm, called Apnimed, has combined these two medicines into one capsule and is setting up a clinical trial.

However, the treatment may not be without risks. Oxybutynin can cause dry eyes, stomach cramps and drowsiness; while atomoxetine has been linked with depression and suicidal thoughts in some children given it for ADHD.

Dr Neil Stanley, an independent sleep expert and a member of the British Sleep Society, says: ‘These are interesting preliminary findings and the reduction in symptoms is very promising.

‘But more research is needed to see if the effect is sustained.’

Why you might get more tummy troubles in winter 

Stomach aches appear to peak in winter, according to a study in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology.

Researchers from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland analysed more than 24 million Google searches made over four years and found that enquiries about abdominal pain and related conditions such as vomiting increased by around 30 per cent in winter compared to summer.

Heavier meals and spending more time on the internet during the winter months may partly explain the rise.

 Eating seaweed weekly might reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by almost 20 per cent, according to a study by Tianjin Medical University in China.

Anti-inflammatory chemicals in seaweed may ward off the disease, in which severe inflammaton can lead to liver cancer.

Yes, DIY masks made from cloth will protect you! 

Homemade face masks are effective at blocking droplets that may carry the Covid-19 virus, according to a new study by the University of Illinois.

Researchers tested 11 common household fabrics used to make masks, such as bed sheets and dishcloths, and compared their breathability and ability to block droplets with medical masks.

Writing in the journal Extreme Mechanics Letters, they found that the materials were all effective at blocking 100nm-sized particles — the size of a coronavirus particle — carried by high-velocity droplets similar to those released by speaking, coughing and sneezing.

New way to speed up metabolism

Could scientists have found the secret to speeding up metabolism? Research published in the journal Cell Metabolism has revealed a new way to activate brown fat — a type of body fat which burns energy.

This fat is normally activated by either cold temperatures or chemical signals sent from the brain. Researchers from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada discovered it contains proteins called beta 2-adrenergic receptors, which stimulate the burning process.

They will now use a drug to find out if turning on these proteins could help boost people’s metabolism.

 ‘Vaccine’ for cancer could be on the horizon

A new cancer vaccine is showing promise. Tests on animals reveal the immune system is able to successfully identify tumours after the CLEC9A-WT1 jab is given.

The vaccine, which contains antibodies mixed with a protein specific to tumours, revs up the body’s immune response, allowing it to recognise cancer cells and destroy them. It may work on a range of cancers, including breast and pancreatic, the journal Clinical and Translational Immunology reports.

 Finger length link with dementia risk

Finger size offers a clue to a woman’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by the University of Southern California. Generally, men have shorter index fingers than ring fingers, while women’s are the same length.

The study found women with ‘masculine’ finger ratios are less likely to develop the disease than those with a ‘feminine’ ratio. This ratio is a marker of exposure to hormones in the womb and the results suggest that women who are exposed to more testosterone, or lower levels of oestrogen before birth, may be less likely to get dementia.


 Sneaky ways to add veg without anyone noticing.

This week: Mashed potatoes with celeriac, carrots and swede. This recipe counts as two of your five-a-day per serving.

Mashed potatoes with celeriac, carrots and swede

Mashed potatoes with celeriac, carrots and swede

Method: Peel and chop 400g potatoes and 225g each of swede, celeriac and carrot. Boil in a large pan of water until very soft, then drain.

Mash with a potato masher or use a ricer if you prefer a smoother texture. Season with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil and a tablespoon or two of Greek yoghurt. Serve straight away 


Make nasal rinses and mouthwash part of your daily routine — a new study in the Journal of Medical Virology suggests this could help reduce transmission of viruses such as Covid. U.S. researchers tested household products such as baby shampoo (1 per cent, made up with water) as a nasal rinse, and mouthwashes, and found they could inactivate coronaviruses. 

 Secrets of an A-list body…

Alesha Dixon wowed onlookers recently in a bright yellow mini dress

Alesha Dixon wowed onlookers recently in a bright yellow mini dress

HOW to get the enviable physiques of the stars.

This week: Alesha Dixon’s legs.

Alesha Dixon wowed onlookers recently in a bright yellow mini dress that showed off her toned legs.

The 42-year-old mother of two and judge on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent recently said she had completed a 12-week challenge of three workouts a week that left her feeling ‘strong’.

What to try: Try squats with heel raises.

Stand up straight, head forward, and shoulders relaxed.

Bend hips and knees to assume a squat position, keeping your feet hip-width apart.

Make sure your back is straight and head in line with your spine.

Rise up on to your toes, maintaining the squat position.

Lower heels to the floor and return to the start position.

Repeat ten times. Do two to three sets of the exercise, three to five times a week.

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Technology UK

People who snore could be 3 times more likely to die of coronavirus, study warns

From being male to having an underlying health condition, a number of factors are known to increase your risk of dying from coronavirus.

Now, a new study indicates that snoring could also increase your risk of dying from Covid-19.

Researchers from the University of Warwick have revealed that people with obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition characterised by complete or partial blockage of the airways during sleep – could be up to three times more likely to die from coronavirus.

In the study, the team reviewed 18 studies looking into a possible link between obstructive sleep apnoea and coronavirus.

Their analysis revealed that many coronavirus patients who presented to intensive care had obstructive sleep apnoea, and in diabetic patients, it was linked to an increased risk of death.

In fact, in one study in coronavirus patients with diabetes, those with obstructive sleep apnoea were 2.8 times more likely to die on the seventh day after hospital admission.

Treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea includes using a machine to help breathing during sleep

Worryingly, the researchers believe that up to 85% of obstructive sleep apnoea cases are undetected.

Dr Michelle Miller, who led the study, said: “Without a clear picture of how many people have obstructive sleep apnoea it is difficult to determine exactly how many people with the condition may have experienced worse outcomes due to COVID-19.

“This condition is greatly underdiagnosed, and we don’t know whether undiagnosed sleep apnoea confers an even greater risk or not.

“It is likely that COVID-19 increases oxidative stress and inflammation and has effects on the bradykinin pathways, all of which are also affected in obstructive sleep apnoea patients.

“When you have individuals in which these mechanisms are already affected, it wouldn’t be surprising that COVID-19 affects them more strongly.”

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The researchers hope the findings will encourage people with obstructive sleep apnoea to take precautions to reduce their risk of coronaviurs.

Dr Miller added: “This is a group of patients that should be more aware that obstructive sleep apnoea could be an additional risk if they get COVID-19. Make sure you are compliant with your treatment and take as many precautions as you can to reduce your risk, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and getting tested as soon as you notice any symptoms. Now more than ever is the time to follow your treatment plan as diligently as possible.

“Hospitals and doctors should also be recording whether their patients have obstructive sleep apnoea as a potential risk factor, and it should be included in studies and outcomes data for COVID-19. We need more data to determine whether this is something we should be more concerned about.”

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