Sophie Carter is working with the NeuRA Sleep and Breathing research team. She previously studied a Bachelor of Science focusing on human anatomy. Sophie’s PhD research project is focused on the effect of the common sleeping pill zopiclone on obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) severity and symptoms. Sophie’s project will contribute to furthering the understanding of the underlying causes of OSA, and developing new & improved methods for the diagnosis and treatment of OSA.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common disorder characterised by repetitive narrowing and collapse of the upper airway during sleep. It is associated with daytime sleepiness, neurocognitive impairment, and a variety of adverse cardiovascular consequences. The first line treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. If tolerated, CPAP is highly effective in reducing sleep disordered breathing events. However, up to 50% of OSA patients are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy leaving many OSA patients without treatment.
Previous studies indicate that in selected obstructive sleep apnea participants a standard dose of a z-drug can shift the threshold for awakening during sleep (arousal) whilst maintaining the upper airway muscle activity required to keep the airway open. This study aims to investigate the effects of different doses of sleeping pills (Z-drugs) on how easily people wake up when the airway narrows during sleep, the activity of a major muscle located under the tongue (genioglossus) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) severity and symptoms.
DR PETER BURKE Postdoctoral fellow
RICHARD LIM Honours student
DR AHMAD BAMAGOOS PhD student
DR CHINH NGUYEN NeuroSleep NHMRC CRE Postdoctoral Fellow
AMAL OSMAN PhD student
Sleep Lab Manager
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DR NIRU WIJESURIYA Postdoctoral Fellow
DR JAYNE CARBERRY NeuroSleep NHMRC CRE Postdoctoral Fellow
To determine the effects of the nonbenzodiazepine sedative zopiclone on the threshold to arousal with increasing respiratory effort and genioglossus muscle activity and to examine potential physiological factors mediating disparate effects of zopiclone on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) severity between patients. In a group of patients with predominantly severe OSA, zopiclone increased the arousal threshold without reducing genioglossus muscle activity or its responsiveness to negative pharyngeal pressure. These properties may be beneficial in some patients with OSA with certain pathophysiological characteristics but may worsen hypoxemia in others.