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Mending broken sleep: Sleep apnea, the dangerous cessation of breathing during sleep, is being diagnosed more and more. A simple machine can bring refreshing relief


4 Star

Mending broken sleep: Sleep apnea, the dangerous cessation of breathing during sleep, is being diagnosed more and more. A simple machine can bring refreshing relief

Our Review Summary

This is an engaging article that may help raise awareness of sleep apnea and the types of problems it may cause. The presentation of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device as a non-surgical intervention that can be quite helpful is accurate, though a more balanced view would have included some discussion of the difficulties that many have in being able to use these devices to obtain the benefits mentioned in the story.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The costs associated with CPAP technology are not presented. No discussion of costs of sleep lab evaluation. No discussion of insurance coverage for these approaches.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Estimates of benefits are presented in general terms , e.g.,”I sleep better”, and “I no longer snore”. But an expectation for the size of the benefits obtained, how reproducible they are, and the time needed to realize them is not presented.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


Early in the story, the CPAP machine is described as looking like Darth Vader on life support. This at least helps with a reasonable image of what the “simple” device looks like.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Although health and quality of life claims are made, there is no mention of the type of evidence to support the anecdotal stories presented.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


Estimate presented for >12 million afflicted with sleep apnea though most are undiagnosed.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


There are quotes from three different health care providers who work in the area of sleep medicine; there are also several quotes from people who have experienced benefit from the use of CPAP.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


Article make clear that lifestyle changes, weight reduction, and surgery are other methods that are available and used to help manage this condition.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


Article does not mention that CPAP devices are FDA approved for the treatment of sleep apnea. However, it is clear that it is a readily available treatment.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story doesn’t claim that this is a new treatment. Neither does it explain that it’s been in use for a long time. The use of constant positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device used to treat obstructive sleep apnea is not new. Such devices, initially used with neonates, begun being used in this adult population in the 1980s.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


There is no evidence that this story relied solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory


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