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Sunday, 02 January 2005

Doctors in Norway say they have invented a cure for snoring.

The cure involves stiffening the palate to stop the vibrations that cause snoring.

The process involves inserting three tiny threads made from Dacron - a tough polymer used in the clothing industry - into the soft palate. The whole procedure last two minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic.

Doctors at St Olav's Hospital in Trondheim pioneered the procedure in conjuction with an American company.

Put this in your nose, and stop snoring.

Norway put snoring on the political agenda last year after offshore oil workers complained of roommates keeping them awake at night.

The problem made national news after a member of parliament wrote to labour minister Victor Norman demanding that something be done to help the sleep-deprived workers.

"That really gave us the impetus to find a solution although our research programme was already well underway" said Dr Staale Nordgaard.

"Several dozen people have had the procedure. Eighty per cent of patients and 70 per cent of their partnerss say they are satisfied. It is a lot less drastic than some of the remedies on the medical market. It hurts less and leaves no scar."

Already approved in the United States, the new method is expected to receive the green light from European authorities in the coming months, he said.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring are caused by an obstruction of the airway, when tissues in the mouth or throat vibrate. A major contributor to OSA and snoring is the soft palate tissue.

Studies suggest that more than 70 per cent of all sleep apnea and snoring involve the soft palate.

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