Frontiers

A Sounder Sleep

Video: Joshua Warren exposes the inner workings of sleep apnea.
June 2011

We all struggle to get our 8 hours. Whether it’s that last-minute work project, a test you’re cramming for, or a newborn, there are a myriad of roadblocks to a good night’s sleep. Some of the resulting fatigue we experience during the day, however, might very well be caused by an invisible enemy—sleep apnea, a disorder that causes breathing to slow dramatically during sleep, affecting oxygen intake. Joshua Warren, who graduated this past May with a double-major in economics and biology, worked with Richard Schwab, Professor of Medicine and co-director of the Penn Sleep Center, to analyze MRIs of over 700 subjects to search for links between morphological changes in the upper airway and sleep apnea severity.

“Sleep apnea is a poorly understood disorder despite its widespread prevalence—it has been estimated that over 20 million Americans alone are affected, and most are not even aware of it.” – Joshua Warren

"The research has been very rewarding," Warren says. "Sleep apnea is a poorly understood disorder despite its widespread prevalence—it has been estimated that over 20 million Americans alone are affected, and most are not even aware of it. We hope that our research on the morphological shifts that underlie changes in sleep apnea severity will facilitate a greater understanding of the disorder, leading to an increased quality of life for all those who are affected."

Warren submitted an abstract on the research and presented it at the 2010 International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is currently in the process of writing a full-length article that he hopes to submit for publication.

Joshua Warren
C'11

Warren discusses the causes and complications of sleep apnea, and what researchers are doing to find a treatment.

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