The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Using education + music to treat sleep apnea

    Researchers from the University of Kansas, School of Nursing and Preventive Medicine, in Kansas City tell us, “As many as 50% of patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea stop adhering to the prescribed medical treatment of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) within 1 to 3 weeks.”

    They tested the effects of music + patient education on adherence to CPAP.

    First, the details.

    • 97 patients with moderate to severe apnea/hypopnea scores and a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea were assigned to a treatment group.
      • An audiotape with softly spoken instructions for placing the CPAP mask, using deep breathing and muscle relaxation along with the slowly decreasing music tempo at bedtime each night.
      • Placebo
    • All patients received directions for CPAP nightly use and a diary to record CPAP benefits or problems.

    And, the results.

    • Compared to placebo, significantly more patients in the comprehensive treatment group adhered to CPAP at the end of the first month.
    • There were no differences in CPAP adherence at 3 and 6 months.
    • Diary data indicated the comprehensive intervention was helpful and guided formation of a relaxing, habitual routine of CPAP use.

    The bottom line?
    It’s not surprising that greater attention to patient education resulted in improved adherence to CPAP short term.

    The only other support I can find for music therapy in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is a study where learning to play the didgeridoo resulted in improved daytime sleepiness and apnea.

    5/17/09 21:00 JR

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