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A new University of Sydney research has come up with their latest invention, a novel technique of analyzing digital photographs of faces in an attempt to predict their potential risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

In Australia, an estimated 4 percent of middle-aged men and 2 percent of middle-aged women are experiencing the OSA disorder. Apparently 50 percent of middle-aged men exhibit the OSA symptom while sleeping, they snore.

This research was conducted by Professor Peter Cistulli and Dr. Richard Lee, in collaboration with the Royal North Shore Hospital and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. Professor Cistulli says that, “The novelty and potential clinical application of our work are very exciting and should hopefully lead to improved recognition and diagnosis of OSA in the community.”

This disease is caused by the repetitive closure of upper airway during periods of interrupted sleep. It is also linked with diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and stroke among others.

Earlier diagnoses of OSA were conducted through specialist assessment and overnight monitoring in a sleep laboratory. This is said to be an expensive mode of diagnosis, thus many OSA sufferers are yet to be diagnosed with this disorder.

Professor Cistulli says that their new innovative approach to OSA diagnosis is a more cost-effective approach, which may aid doctors in diagnosing a larger number of OSA patients.

This new approach is said to have precisely diagnosed 76 percent of the OSA patients at the Royal North Shore Hospital. This approach has produced a higher number of accurate diagnoses as compared to the traditional methods of medical histories, questionnaires and examinations.

It is stated that this new approach was patented by the Royal North Shore Hospital. They apparently plan to soon commercialize the invention as well.

This new approach has been published in the SLEEP journal.