Can a bottle with a clever straw banish snoring?

Can a bottle with a clever straw banish snoring?

  • To drink from it you have to use the tongue to press nozzle against roof of mouth 

A drinking bottle with a clever nozzle and straw could help banish heavy snoring — by strengthening the muscles in the mouth.

To drink from it you have to use your tongue to press the nozzle against the roof of the mouth; this then opens a valve in the straw that releases water from the bottle.

The theory is that this action helps tone muscles at the back of the mouth that control the tongue — and this in turn means the tongue is less likely to relax so much during sleep that it partially blocks the airway, a common cause of snoring.

After a promising initial study, a clinical trial is under way at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, U.S., involving 40 people, to see if regularly drinking from the bottle stops their snoring.

The most common cause of snoring is sleep apnoea. This occurs when the muscles in the airway, which naturally relax as we fall asleep, completely collapse; this shuts off breathing for up to ten seconds at a time.

To drink from the new straw you have to use your tongue to press the nozzle against the roof of the mouth; this then opens a valve in the straw that releases water from the bottle (stock image)

Once the brain realises breathing has stopped, it sends a signal for the airway muscles to contract again to open the airway.

Sleep apnoea has been shown to raise blood pressure and the threat of a stroke or heart attack because of reduced oxygen supply. Treatment usually consists of continuous positive airway pressure, where patients wear a mask that gently forces air into the airway to stop them collapsing as they sleep.

But some people find the mask cumbersome and research suggests that nearly a third never use it or abandon it within weeks. Exercises that strengthen muscles in the tongue and throat are often recommended for patients.

READ MORE: We try before you buy: Smart straws! Femail’s drink expert HELEN McGINN rates the best eco alternatives

For example, one involves sliding the tip of the tongue backward and forward along the roof of the mouth at least ten times.

These types of exercises need to be repeated up to three times a day for several months.

The new bottle, called REMplenish Myo Nozzle, looks like an ordinary reusable water bottle and is available to buy online for around £55 — but has a specially designed nozzle and straw that give the tongue a mini ‘workout’ every time someone takes a sip.

Instead of sucking, the user positions the bottle so that the straw is parallel to — and resting against — the roof of the mouth.

They then repeatedly press the tongue firmly against the straw to draw the water out, exercising muscles at the back of the tongue in the process. This activates a valve which lets water pass up the straw. In the new trial, patients with sleep apnoea will be given identical bottles to drink from for 60 days — half will have the special nozzle and half an ordinary one.

Researchers will assess the severity of their snoring before and after the trial using the Calgary Sleep Apnea Quality of Life Index, a scoring system that assesses factors such as memory and concentration.

Initial results of the trial are expected early next year.

Data from a small study, run by the manufacturer, showed a third of users reported reduced daytime drowsiness after using the bottle for just a month.

Independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley said: ‘We know exercising the tongue and throat can reduce snoring.

‘But we’ll have to wait for the results of the Mayo Clinic study before we know if this bottle is of any real benefit.’

Insomnia may increase the risk of thinning bones in women, according to research by the University of Greifswald in Germany. 

They studied more than 1,000 volunteers and found those with insomnia had the lowest bone density, putting them at risk of fractures. One theory is that insomnia raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can reduce bone formation.

Insomnia may increase the risk of thinning bones in women, according to research by the University of Greifswald in Germany (stock image)

Rinse and spit to spot hidden heart disease

Could a simple mouthwash identify those most at risk of heart disease?

In a study at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, 28 volunteers aged 18 to 30 rinsed their mouths with salt water — which was then tested for raised white blood cell levels, an indicator of gum inflammation which is in turn linked with a greater risk of heart disease.

Those with the highest white blood cell levels also had the poorest blood circulation, the researchers found. And this suggests a greater risk of future heart disease, according to a report in the journal Frontiers in Oral Health.

It is believed that inflammation in the mouth also indicates inflammation in arteries around the heart, restricting the flow of blood.

Flagging libido affects nearly one in two postmenopausal women. A rub-on gel made with chamomile may be as good as hormone replacement therapy at boosting sex drive, say researchers from Iran. 

They compared the use of chamomile gel with oestrogen gel on postmenopausal women over 12 weeks and found the gels were equally effective at improving desire, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports. 

Tackling the pain of arthritic knees with collagen pills

Collagen supplements are being tested as a potential new treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

In a trial at the Catholic University of Murcia, Spain, 80 patients with the condition are being given either daily collagen capsules, or a placebo, to take for six weeks.

Their pain levels, mobility and quality of life are also being recorded.

Osteoarthritis occurs when joint cartilage breaks down with wear and tear. The theory is that supplements of collagen, a protein that strengthens bones, skin, muscles, tendons and hair, will toughen remaining cartilage, stop it deteriorating and ease pain.

Collagen supplements are being tested as a potential new treatment for knee osteoarthritis (stock image)

Skin patch offers drug-free option for treating acne

A hi-tech patch has been developed as a new drug-free approach to treating acne.

It is studded with tiny needles that painlessly release zinc-based compounds into the skin. When the area is then targeted with ultrasound, these compounds form oxygen-based molecules that are attracted to, and kill, the P. acnes bacteria that play a key role in the skin problem.

In tests on mice, researchers from the University of Hong Kong found that more than 99 per cent of the acne-causing bacteria were killed within 15 minutes of the treatment.

The oxygen molecules also triggered the growth of new skin cells, helping to kickstart the healing process, according to the research published in Science Advances.

Antibiotics are often offered as the first-line treatment against acne, but they don’t work for all, and can lead to drug-resistant bacteria.

How 15 minutes of comedy may cut risk of cancer recurring

Watching comedy every day might lower the chances of cancer returning by reducing oxidative stress, where harmful molecules (called free radicals) attack healthy tissue, causing changes that can lead to a tumour.

That’s the suggestion from a new study at Kindai University in Japan, where 50 male and female cancer survivors were told to watch a 15-minute comedy daily for a month. The researchers took blood samples before and after the experiment to analyse free radical levels.

Results, published in the journal Cureus, showed a daily giggle led to lower levels of free radicals and soothed anxiety over the cancer’s possible return.

It’s thought that laughter works by easing psychological stress, which is known to trigger oxidative stress.

What’s in a name?

The origin of conditions with quirky names. This week: Tennis elbow

This condition is caused by overusing the muscles attached to your elbow and used to straighten your wrist. This can cause tiny tears in the tissue and inflammation near the bony lump on the outside of your elbow.

Professor Chris Peach, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the OrthTeam Centre, Manchester, says: ‘It was first described as ‘lawn tennis arm’ in The Lancet by Sir Henry Morris in 1882, having been noted in those who played the game.

‘Any activity that puts repeated stress on the elbow joint can cause it, including manual work and gardening.

‘Someone with tennis elbow might feel stiffness when bending or straightening their elbow, even preventing them from picking up a cup of tea.

‘The best advice is to stop the activity causing the discomfort, to reduce inflammation and allow the tissue to heal.’


Watercress: According to researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey, it is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. 

Watercress: According to researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey, it is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat (stock image)

They ranked fruit and veg by their levels of 17 critical nutrients — including fibre, potassium, protein, calcium, folate and vitamins A, B12 and D — and it came out top.


How you can cut costs on healthcare products. This week: Diarrhoea relief

SPEND: Imodium Instants, £3.99 for six melt-type tablets,

SAVE: Galpharm Diarrhoea Relief Instants, £1.29 for six melt-type tablets, Asda.

Pharmacist Sultan Dajani says: ‘Both contain loperamide hydrochloride, which works by slowing the digestive system and allowing a more natural rhythm for the absorption of fluid and salts.

‘These are designed to dissolve on the tongue in seconds, so work far quicker than taking a capsule version, which works within about one to two hours. There is a danger with some cheaper products that they will not dissolve entirely or as fast, meaning the delivery of the active ingredients is slower.

‘I would spend more knowing the Imodium will definitely work and possibly be quicker. Stopping the diarrhoea is only part of the recovery process as you also need to replace lost fluids, salts and minerals.’

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