Posts by: Momentum

What is the OPPERA Study?

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This is a different kind of opera than everyone is thinking about.  This topic relates to TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders).  Each person has a left and right temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and can experience a problem or dysfunction on one or both sides. A TMJ Disorder is typically referred to as a TMD, although TMJ is a more commonly used term. There are different problems that can be categorized as a TMD. Sometimes a TM Joint can be dislocated or move improperly because of tightness in the surrounding muscles, and looseness of the TMJ disc. Although two people could have a TMD, they might have different things that are wrong with their TMJ.

oppera study

TMD involves the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles), the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and/or associated orofacial structures (mouth, face, jaws, neck, ears and eyes).  Symptoms can include headaches, migraines, jaw pain, eye pain, hearing loss, ear ringing, ear pain, dizziness, clicking/popping noises in the jaw, blurred vision, light sensitivity and trouble swallowing.  TMD affects quality of life and produces significant disability.  It is proven that more women than men are affected, and the most affected age group is 40-50.

The first large population-based study designed to identify the risk factors of TMD – The original OPPERA Study – was launched in 2006.  At 4 different US study sites, 3,258 “TMD-free” adults were evaluated. During follow-up 5 years later, 4% of participants per year developed TMD.  Click this link to read more about the 7-year study.




Evaluation &


Assessment Study

           Face Profile illustration

As some of you remember from my previous postings, one of the most prevalent symptoms of TMD is headache and/or facial pain – sometimes referred to as Cephalgia.  Unfortunately, this comorbidity is not well understood.

-Is it the headache that causes TMD?

-Is it the TMD that causes the headache?

-Is OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) a factor?

I have treated over 10,000 TMD and OSA patients, and throughout the years have seen TMD symptoms that have been misdiagnosed as anything from Migraine to Trigeminal Neuralgia.  It is in my experience that once the TMJ dysfunction is controlled, the TMD caused headaches and migraines diminish.

Headache Types graphic

Whether or not headache can predict the onset of TMD has not been determined at this point.  However, clinical findings do suggest that appropriate and timely treatment of headache/migraine may reduce the risk for developing or exacerbating TMD.

OPPERA was the first large study specifically intended to identify genetic factors, social factors and environmental factors that are associated with TMD.

TMD Graph

It wasn’t always acknowledged in the past, but now the association between psychological factors (depression, stress, anxiety, etc.) and the physical symptoms of TMD are widely recognized.  These psychological factors can induce fatigue, muscle spasms, muscle hyperactivity, internal disturbances and degenerative arthritis. Masticatory function can be disrupted, changing a person’s stable occlusion to one that is unstable.

Many studies have found that symptoms of TMD can be a root cause of depression and other psychiatric diseases.  If not the cause, then the symptoms (PAIN) ear or eye can exacerbate the problem.  It certainly doesn’t help that so many TMD patients are told that “it’s all in their head” and nothing is wrong with them physically.  Patients begin to believe that after so many misdiagnoses.

TMJ Is it all in your Head?

If you feel that you have been misdiagnosed or have questions about different treatment options, please contact our office at 586-573-0438. Some of the treatments offered at Michigan Head & Neck Institute include wearing an adjustable, corrective orthotic (mouthpiece), physical therapy, massage, use of the tens unit, heat application, pain-relieving injections and guidance to understand your condition. For more information, please visit our website at


Goncalves DA, Bigal ME, Jales LC, Camparis CM, Speciali JG. Headache and symptoms of temporomandibular disorder: an epidemiological study. Headache. 2010;50(2):231–241.

Maixner W, Diatchenko L, Dubner R, et al. Orofacial Pain Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment Study – The OPPERA Study. The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society. 2011;12(11 Suppl):T4-T11.e2. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2011.08.002.

Tchivileva IE, Ohrbach R, Fillingim RB, Greenspan JD, Maixner W, Slade GD. Temporal change in headache and its contribution to risk of developing first-onset TMD in the OPPERA study. Pain. 2017;158(1):120-129.

Dworkin, Samuel F. The OPPERA Study: Act One. J Pain. 2011 Nov;12(11):T1 – T3.

Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 2nd edition. Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache. 2004;24(Suppl 1):9–160.

Maixner W, Fillingim R, Booker D, Sigurdsson A. Sensitivity of patients with painful temporomandibular disorders to experimentally evoked pain. Pain. 1995;63:341–351.

Slade GD, et al. Preclinical episodes of orofacial pain symptoms and their association with health care behaviors in the OPPERA prospective cohort study. Pain. 2013;154(5):750–760.

Ohrbach R, et al. Clinical findings and pain symptoms as potential risk factors for chronic TMD: descriptive data and empirically identified domains from the OPPERA case-control study. J Pain. 2011;12(11 Suppl):T27–45.

Bair E et al. Study Protocol, Sample Characteristics, and Loss to Follow-Up: The OPPERA Prospective Cohort Study. J Pain. 2013 Dec;14(12 Suppl):T2–T19.

Drowsy Driving

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Approximately 1 in 25 adults aged 18 years or older report that they have fallen asleep while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.  Being sleep deprived is potentially more dangerous than drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported accidents are related to driver fatigue annually. Drowsy driving is one of the “four D’s” of impaired driving (drowsy, drunk, drugged and distracted).  Drowsiness causes drivers to have a slower reaction time, pay less attention to the road conditions, and make poor driving decisions.  If you happen to get drowsy while driving, the best thing you can do is pull over to a safe place and take a 15-20 minute nap, or grab a cup of coffee.  Simply turning up the music and rolling down the windows won’t do. To learn more about drowsy driving risks, please click here to read the full article.

Skipping Dinner Weight Loss

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It has now been proven that meal-timing strategies can increase fat/protein burning and reduce hunger. By eating the last meal of the day midafternoon and then undergoing an 18-hour fasting cycle, appetite levels are evened out and maximal fat is burned.  Because the body works off of an internal clock, metabolism functions at its maximum capacity earlier in the day. The following study monitored 11 overweight men & women over the course of 4 days, eating between the hours of 8am – 2pm only.  Findings included better fat and protein oxidation, improved hunger swings, extra energy and enhanced respiratory quotient.  Additional research on this topic will allow doctors to better treat and even prevent obesity in the future. Please click here to read the full article.



Obesity Society. (2016, November 3). Eating dinner early, or skipping dinner altogether, may be effective in fighting body fat. ScienceDaily.

Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome

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For those doctors out there – you know that you never take your own advice.  Maybe the following article can help to shed some light on an ongoing epidemic in dental practices nationwide. For dental professionals, the majority of the visualization field is extremely demanding on posture. Because dentists are constantly leaning over their patients, they forget to utilize the correct posture.  Procedures are long, sometimes several hours, and very detailed. The muscles that posture how the mandible connects to the cranium are in the face, jaw and neck.  Over time, incorrect posture can create or exacerbate disorders, and increase chronic pain and fatigue.  Dentists are more vulnerable to occupational injuries than other professionals due to their posture during prolonged time periods for very intricate procedures.  In fact, more than 65% of dentists report job-related pain.


Musculoskeletal disorders can be prevented, however.  By being aware of your posture, keeping active outside of work, breaking between appointments and not working excessive hours, ultimate productivity can be achieved. Click this link for more information on posture as it relates to musculoskeletal problems in dentistry.

Effects of Poor Sleep

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According to the following article, 80% of Sleep Apnea cases are undiagnosed.  On average, an employee suffering from a sleep disorder can cost a company (on average) up to 8 days in lost productivity.  Not to mention the risk factor connected to employing an impaired person.  People suffering from sleep deprivation are impaired within a few hours of being on task at work. By increasing awareness of OSA in the medical field and in the workplace, perhaps we will someday be able to get ahead of all the chronic conditions associated with OSA. We can then see the effects of poor sleep.

 The following article shows the Eye Opening Effects of Poor Sleep.

Jun 16, 2016   Kevin Jones  | Fleet Owner
80% of sleep apnea cases undiagnosed; companies reluctant to manage bedrooms
Odd work hours or overnight shifts may be “the nature of the beast” for trucking, but the detrimental impact on driver health and performance is too profound to ignore, as a sleep expert and a fleet safety manager detailed in a recent FusionHealth webinar. The good news, corporate America is learning, is that a sleep management program can substantially improve employee wellbeing and effectiveness-and quickly.
FusionHealth co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Durmer opens his presentation by noting the high-profile catastrophes which share fatigue-related causes: the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Challenger explosion, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
More generally troubling, Americans increasingly suffer from “a culture of getting less sleep,” with research putting the level at 45% of the working population being sleep deprived on a daily basis. And while much of that population simply doesn’t get the sleep they need periodically, a substantial number of people have clinical sleep disorders, including 1 in 3 with insomnia, 1 in 4 with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 1 in 10 with restless legs syndrome.
 “Even 1 in 10 is a very large number when you look at your workforce,” Durmer says. “These are problems and disorders that are affecting people on a night-to-night basis and largely going undiagnosed and unaddressed by medical programs.”
In fact, OSA is undiagnosed in around 80% of the people who have it, he notes.
These problems-even after just one night of poor sleep-result in the loss of hormonal appetite regulation (causing weight gain) and toxic waste build-up in the brain, which can be dangerous over the long term. The toll rises to another level of severity for people with undiagnosed disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a much higher mortality risk.
“If we can get ahead of the sleep problem our country has, we may be able to get ahead of the accelerating chronic diseases and the costs associated with them,” Durmer notes.
As for the workplace, sleep deprivation results in a lack of focus, lost work time, more accidents and more errors. Durmer calculates that each sleep-deprived employee typically costs the company an average of eight days in lost productivity compared to well-rested employees.
Specifically, the “executive functions”-processed in the brain’s frontal lobe-are impaired after several hours on task in people with sleep deprivation. Simply, “the A team” hands over control to less capable areas of the brain.
“This increases the mistakes and risks for an organization,” Durmer says. “When you have a sleep-deprived population, this is something that can drive up poor decision making, errors, and costs.”
And corporate American has taken notice. A McKinsey survey from earlier this year found that 70% of executives said sleep management should be taught in organizations, the same way time management and communication skills are taught now.
Durmer recommends a number of specific measures companies can take to help their employees. These include:
–          Integrate population sleep health education as a business principle and create measures to improve the identification and assistance for employees facing these challenges.
–          Assign workers to the shift hours that better align with their natural circadian rhythms.
–          Discourage extended work hours and all-nighters by limiting access to work facilities and equipment when possible.
–          Institute “blackout hours” for work by configuring corporate email servers to not update during certain off hour time periods.
–          Count Karla Staver, director of safety for Saia, as among those in corporate America who recognize the importance of a well-rested workforce-and who are doing something about it. The LTL carrier began looking into sleep management programs as a result of government regulators’ focus on fatigue, as well the impact on fleet safety and on the company’s aging driver population, she explains.
–          “The more we started to research, the more we found how sleep is interconnected to the safety record and accidents,” Staver says. “It’s apparent when drivers are falling asleep, but we were looking for an opportunity to find a root cause and to help them. Before, there was always the attitude that ‘that’s the nature of the beast,’ we have to move freight 24 hours. You encourage your drivers to come to work well rested, but what does ‘well rested’ mean to each driver. It’s very, very different and it’s very personal.”
–          She notes a summer uptick in accidents among Saia drivers who work the overnight shift, for example. The intuitive explanation is that kids are home from school, there are summer activities, and drivers are sacrificing sleep for time with their families.
–          But the personal nature of the problem is the source of concern among employees who don’t want the company in their bedrooms. The reaction at Saia to the introduction of a sleep management program was “hot and cold.” However, drivers who had already been diagnosed have stepped up as served as mentors and were willing to share their experiences.
–          “I think you do have to feel passionate about it, and make people understand,” she says. “You don’t know how bad you feel until you don’t feel it anymore.”
–          And Staver speaks from personal experience: In evaluating the FusionHealth program to understand the driver perspective, she went through the screening and discovered she suffered from OSA. Treatment paid off immediately, and-in addition to feeling better-she was taken off blood pressure medication after six months on a CPAP machine.
–          “That’s the problem with sleep disorders,” Durmer adds. “People have them for so many years and they live it with. They don’t understand it’s impacted their daytime until it’s removed. It’s like having weights on all day and then taking the weights off.”
–          To overcome employee concerns or reluctance, Staver emphasizes the importance of education and communication in implementing a sleep management program.
–          “There are so many benefits to their quality of life, their ability to contribute, so we as a company need to educate them on taking care of themselves and looking for the signals of sleep deprivation,” Staver says. “It is silent and it creeps up on you. Many people carry it as a badge of honor: ‘I only need five hours of sleep.’ But that’s what you think you need; you don’t realize what your body’s telling you.”

Stem Cells & TMJ

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A recent study done at Columbia College of Dental Medicine states that certain stem cells can stimulate healing, create new cartilage and repair damaged joints. Stem cells have the ability to tighten ligaments in the body, such as the TMJ ligaments, and can regenerate TMJ cartilage.  The TMJ has several ligaments including the sphenomandibular, stylomandibular and capsular ligaments, which could all potentially benefit from stem cell therapy. Additionally, new cartilage within the TMJ can result in a smoother movement of the jaw joints and prevent possible dislocations of the jaw joint/s. To read the full article on stem cells and tmj, please click on the following link: Columbia University Newsroom Article

Exercise & OSA

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According to this study performed in 2011, exercise produces a positive effect on sleep quality and OSA severity. The participants listed here were 43 overweight adults aged 18-55 with a moderate – severe OSA diagnosis.  The 12-week exercise program demonstrated that exercise was a conduit in the reduction of AHI in sedentary overweight/obese adults.  Research has indicated that physically active patients have a reduced risk of OSA compared to inactive or less active individuals.  To read the full article on exercise and obstructive sleep apnea, please click on the PDF on the following link …


TMJ and Facial Pain

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It is a widely recognized fact that TMJ disorders (TMD) can stem from an injury or trauma. Any injury that has enough force to break teeth can permanently damage temporomandibular joints, surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons.  Obvious injuries such as a fractured jaw or traumatic head injury typically happen as the result of a motor vehicle accident or sports injury, and can be pinpointed at a specific time/date.  The tougher problems to treat are the more subtle injuries, as they are more difficult to identify.  This is usually because the symptoms (and damage) are not immediate. For example, you may have pain in your jaw right now, and it could be from a car accident 5 or 10 years ago.

tmj and facial pain

According to statistics published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA) in 1990, 44-99% of TMJ problems are caused by trauma.

Injuries That Can Cause TMD

Whiplash – Many people think that whiplash is just a neck injury, but the central point of the trauma associated with the rapid movement is the temporomandibular joint.  The muscles associated with the TMJ are placed under excessive pressure, opening the jaw and exerting force on the sides of the skull where the jaw is attached to the cranium.

tmj from whiplash

*The Journal of the American Dental Association found that 1 in 3 people who get whiplash experience delayed TMD.

 *At the 1990 annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America, a paper was presented indicating that, through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a study revealed that there were TMJ injuries in 87 percent of patients who reported whiplash syndromes after automobile accidents.

A Blow to the Lower Jaw – This can cause trauma that is significant enough to misalign, dislocate or even break your jaw. If there has been a change in the anatomy of the jaw, like disc displacement or condylar injury, then a clicking sound will start to occur when moving the jaw.

tmj from boxing

A Blow to the Side of the Head – This can cause the temporalis muscle to contract. If the temporalis contracts then the mandible (lower jaw) is lifted, causing misalignment. Characteristic symptoms of this type of injury include jaw pain, headaches, migraines and dizziness.

tmj from head injury

Overextending the Joint – When holding your mouth open for extended periods of time, there is potential for stretching and straining one or both TMJ’s. Stretching the ligaments may allow the TMJ disc to have an unnatural ROM (range of motion). If the disc slips forward past the condyle, it no longer serves its function as a buffer between the bone of the condyle and the cranial socket. This could happen during normal activities of daily life such as yawning too wide, singing, yelling or laughing.  This also often occurs after an extensive dental procedure, or if you experience a seizure.

tmj from overextending the joint

Additionally, repetitive behaviors like jaw clenching, teeth grinding, excessive gum chewing, or any other monotonous behavior can be the source of a microtrauma (minor internal injury).  People under a lot of stress may constantly chew gum or clench their teeth.  Even though this seems like a minor action, if repeated enough, can cause myofacial trigger points.  Damage is done slowly and over a long period of time. So unless the individual is hyperaware of their behavior, they probably don’t even know that they are harming themselves.

tmj from teeth grinding

Similar to other joints in the body, the TMJ is a multipart structure that acts as a hinge or rotator.  This hinge is a ball-and-socket joint.  Basically, it enables your jaw to move freely (estimated function is up to 5,000 times per day).  Each person has two TMJ’s (left & right).  You can feel both of them by placing your fingers in front of your ear lobes and opening/closing your mouth.  The TMJ’s are very susceptible to injury due to their anatomical intricacy.

Anytime you encounter an accident or injury, your dentist should screen you for signs of TMJ pain or dysfunction. This should be done right after the accident and then reexamined on a yearly basis.  Dr. Klein spends significant time with new patients to learn about their lifestyle and possible injuries.  He will discuss imaging results and comprise a treatment plan if a TMJ problem is diagnosed. While some surgeries are available for different TMJ dysfunctions, Dr. Klein takes a conservative approach. To find out more about the treatments offered at Michigan Head & Neck Institute, please visit our website at or call us at (586) 573-0438.


Marini, Ida et al. The prevalence of temporomandibular disorders in patients with late whiplash syndrome who experience orofacial pain. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2013;144(5):486-490.

Caminiti M, Weinberg S. Chronic mandibular dislocation: The role of surgical and

non-surgical treatment. Journal of Canadian Dental Association. 1998; 64(7); 484-491.

Muhtaroullari M, Demiralp B, Ertan A. Non-surgical treatment of sports related TMJ disorders in basketball players. Dental Traumatology. 2004; 20:338.

Fernandez CE, Amiri A, Jaime J, Delaney P. The relationship of whiplash injury and temporomandibular disorders: a narrative literature review. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2009;8(4):171-186.

Häggman-Henrikson B, Rezvani M, List T. Prevalence of whiplash trauma in TMD patients: a systematic review. J Oral Rehabil. 2014 Jan;41(1):59-68. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Landzberg G, El-Rabbany M, Klasser GD, Epstein JB. Temporomandibular disorders and whiplash injury: a narrative review. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2017 Aug;124(2):e37-e46. Epub 2017 Mar 10.

Chisnoiu AM, Picos AM, Popa S, Chisnoiu PD, Lascu L, Picos A, Chisnoiu R. Factors involved in the etiology of temporomandibular disorders – a literature review. Clujul Medical. 2015;88(4), 473–478.

Music Therapy and Depression

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music therapy

Most of us probably don’t think of music as a form of medicine or treatment, but you’d be surprised.  Studies have shown that music can have long-term cognitive, emotional and social benefits in many areas of healthcare.  In fact, music therapy is being utilized more and more in the treatment of neurological disorders such as dementia, stroke and Alzheimer’s, as it has been proven to increase competence and memory.

Listening to music and singing along to music can actually reduce social isolation issues that the older community faces, reduce depression and anxiety, and benefit their overall emotional well-being and cognitive function. For those able to play an instrument, that is encouraged as well. When you play an instrument, that activity becomes almost like a brain workout or exercise.  Different areas of the brain become engaged.

music therapy and depression

Neuroimaging studies have shown that music engages:

-Temporal lobe (auditory processing)

-Frontal lobe (cognitive skills)

-Parietal lobe (sensory processing)

-Cerebellum (coordination & balance)

-Limbic/Paralimbic system (memory & emotion)

This network within the brain plays a huge role in emotional development, problem solving, social interaction, communication, and cognitive development.  Unlike most other sensory–motor activities, music performance requires precise timing of several hierarchically organized actions, as well as precise control over pitch interval production, implemented through diverse effectors according to the instrument involved (Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Jul;8(7):547).

Listening to songs either alone or in a group can enhance concentration and can be cognitively stimulating.  Hearing familiar music from childhood or as a young adult can often evoke memories and cause people to associate different things from their past.  Continuous musical activity can aid in maintaining a better orientation to the current environment as well, as seen with many elderly people in assisted living homes.

Both singing and listening to music can improve short-term and working memory.  Behavioral and neuroimaging studies have shown that singing employs the brain regions associated with working memory, thus guiding any decision-making behaviors.

Music and the brain graphic

Repeated exposure to musical activities has also been shown to induce neuroplastic changes in the brain.  Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt throughout life.  With increased neurotransmitters present, that means there are more “chemical messengers” available to transmit signals throughout the brain.  Therefore, auditory, cognitive and motor skills improve.  This has been shown most recently in stroke and Parkinson’s patients.

The emotional impact of music corresponds to the medial and subcortical regions of the brain.  These “older” regions mature early in life and have a tendency to deteriorate last (as seen in Alzheimer’s disease).  The prefrontal cortex is a part of this region, and is a center for connecting memories and emotions with music.

The preservation of this part of the brain is crucial, and is also the reason why familiar music can bring back memories even for people in the most advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Various studies of women’s issues in mental health treatment have also shown that exposure to music can decrease anxiety and depression experienced by both the person suffering from the neurological disorder and the family members who may be burdened by the care.  Singing has been found to reduce the psychological burden experienced by family members and loved ones.

It is without question that more research needs to be done in the field of neurological disorders, including causes and treatments.  Just recently (June 2017), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts launched Sound Health partnership, which aims to provide studies for music-based rehabilitation strategies.  This partnership is an expansion of an initial movement that NIH had with the National Symphony Orchestra called Sound Health.  The goals are to expand knowledge on music therapy and identify research opportunities for treating neurological disorders.  Please click here to read more about Sound Health and their mission.

Head with music notes illustration



Särkämö T, Tervaniemi M, Laitinen S, Numminen A, Kurki M, Johnson JK, Rantanen P. Cognitive, emotional, and social benefits of regular musical activities in early dementia: randomized controlled study. Gerontologist. 2014 Aug;54(4):634-50. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Bruer RA, Spitznagel E, Cloninger CR. The temporal limits of cognitive change from music therapy in elderly persons with dementia or dementia-like cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial. J Music Ther. 2007 Winter;44(4):308-28.

Clair AA. The effects of music therapy on engagement in family caregiver and care receiver couples with dementia. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2002 Sep-Oct;17(5):286-90.

Hanna-Pladdy B, MacKay A. The relation between instrumental musical activity and cognitive aging. Neuropsychology. 2011 May;25(3):378-86.

Herholz SC, Zatorre RJ. Musical training as a framework for brain plasticity: behavior, function, and structure. Neuron. 2012 Nov 8;76(3):486-502.

Hyde KL, Lerch J, Norton A, Forgeard M, Winner E, Evans AC, Schlaug G. Musical training shapes structural brain development. J Neurosci. 2009 Mar 11;29(10):3019-25.

Simmons-Stern NR, Budson AE, Ally BA. Music as a memory enhancer in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia. 2010 Aug;48(10):3164-7. Epub 2010 May 7.

Mammarella N, Fairfield B, Cornoldi C. Does music enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults? The Vivaldi Effect. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2007 Oct;19(5):394-9.

Sihvonen, Aleksi J et al. Music-based interventions in neurological rehabilitation. Lancet Neurol. 2017 Aug;16(8):648-660.

NIH Website – Sound Health

Music Therapy image borrowed from The Score website

Sleep Apnea Side Effects Untreated

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Sleep Apnea is a condition in which your breathing becomes shallow or even completely stops for a brief moment during sleep. It can occur many times throughout the night, affecting your mental clarity and alertness the next day. Many people are unaware that sleep apnea is happening during the night and that they need sleep apnea treatment.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea, occurs when something is blocking your airway during sleep. You may have a smaller airway in your nose or throat, enlarged tonsils or too much tissue in your throat. During the night, your diaphragm and chest muscles work hard to open the airway and get enough air while you sleep.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of OSA:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Snoring
  • Trouble waking up in the morning
  • Forgetfulness or trouble concentrating
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth or sore throat

Many times, your partner may notice the symptoms before you do. Although sleep apnea has many short-term effects, it’s the long-term effects that are more worrisome.


Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea When Untreated

Sleep apnea impacts every aspect of your life, both physically and emotionally. Many people with OSA have relationship problems, because it can affect your sex life. Your snoring and restlessness may prevent your partner from sleeping well, which can also make him or her irritable. Performance at work can suffer, which leads to long-term stress. Drowsiness can also raise your risk of having an accident while you’re driving. Then, there are physical effects:


High Blood Pressure

OSA and hypertension are closely linked. It’s estimated that 50 percent of people with OSA have high blood pressure. Having a higher blood pressure at night increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can increase your risk of having OSA, too. These conditions seem to go hand-in-hand.


Heart Disease

In the United States, the leading cause of death is heart disease. The major risk for heart disease is high blood pressure. With hypertension being a risk factor for OSA, these two issues are linked together. It’s important to your heart to get sleep apnea treatment.



Under normal circumstances, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. If you have OSA, your risk of a stroke is increased. When your breathing stops during the night, your brain is deprived of oxygen. According to the Mayo Clinic, men who suffer from OSA are three times higher at risk for a stroke than men who don’t have OSA.



The link between diabetes and OSA is not as well-defined, but researchers do know that the two conditions are linked. OSA affects blood sugar control during the night, making it more difficult to control blood sugar levels over time. It’s estimated that 40 percent of those with OSA will be diagnosed with diabetes.


Treating Sleep Anea

Sleep specialists have many treatment options for a better night’s sleep. If you’re looking for treatment that can lower your risk of developing long-term health problems from sleep apnea, contact Michigan Head and Neck!