Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Hedman

Abstract

Snoring is a sleep disruption that can lead to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which interrupts breathing by obstructing the airway. Injecting a protein crosslinker, such as genipin, into the soft palate could decrease the severity of snoring and OSA by stiffening the soft palate. Equine soft palates modeled human palates due to a high incidence of awake snoring and apnea.

The pilot in vivo study treated six horses with two 100 mM injections of the buffered genipin reagent. The efficacy phase horses underwent respiratory audio recordings to document snoring changes using Matlab and ImageJ in the time and frequency domains. Histological analysis was completed on the safety phase palates post treatment.

All horses were successfully treated with the genipin injections. At least one horse showed high frequency amplitude reductions, and all horses had low frequency amplitude reductions, correlating to a reduction in palatal displacement and snoring loudness. One efficacy horse appears to have been completely cured. The histological analysis presented tissue damage, mucosal tissue damage, and mild inflammation due to palate expansion and errant injections.

Different injection volumes and techniques should be investigated next. Applying this treatment to human studies for snoring and OSA applications is the ultimate goal.