Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting nearly 1 billion people worldwide, a prevalence estimated to continuously increase. This sleep-related breathing disorder strongly impacts on physical and mental health, being recognized as a major public health issue on a global scale. Only in 2015, the total costs associated with untreated OSA were estimated as $149.6B in the USA. Diagnosing and treating all the Americans suffering from OSA could save $100.1B. Yet, 80-90% of the OSA cases are estimated to be undiagnosed. OSA is conventionally diagnosed by an overnight polysomnography (PSG) to monitor sleep, a labour intensive, cumbersome and expensive test that has generated long waiting lists and considerable delays in OSA diagnosis and treatment. To solve this problem, our team is developing a blood test of a set of OSA biomarkers: SleepApneaID. Our innovative concept shows potential to provide early and personalized OSA diagnosis and treatment response monitoring. This disruptive and patentable concept could be initially used as a first screening test in primary care centers and Sleep Units, decreasing PSG need, costs and waiting times, and, eventually, replace the need of a PSG completely, counteracting the delay in OSA diagnosis, stopping disease progression, and reducing OSA health, economic and social impact.
The main goals of this project are: 1) to investigate the impact of OSA on the expression of peripheral clock genes; 2) to identify putative OSA biomarkers to detect earlier and faster OSA; 3) to unravel the crosstalk between OSA and the onset of ageing and age-related diseases, and 4) to increase public awareness of OSA and the importance of healthy sleep.
Joaquim Moita, APS & CHUC