Newswise — NEW YORK (October 3, 2016) – Raanan Arens, M.D., chief of the Division of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, (CHAM), and professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has been awarded a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study and develop tools for combatting obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). The disorder, which interrupts normal breathing during sleep, affects almost half of obese youth, yet few effective treatments are available because the precise mechanism leading to the disorder remains unknown.
Dr. Arens will lead a team of investigators from different institutions and fields, including pediatricians, radiologists, image processing and analysis experts, and biomechanical engineers. Together they will build a computer simulation model of the upper respiratory tract and surrounding tissues to better understand the causes of OSAS and discover ways to improve children’s health outcomes.
“By using this multidisciplinary comprehensive approach we can identify why children suffering from obesity are prone to experiencing OSAS and recommend treatments that can help decrease the prevalence of associated complications like learning difficulties and serious health risks such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Dr. Arens, principal investigator on the study.
Jayaram K. Udupa, Ph.D., professor of Radiologic Science in Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine, The University of Pennsylvania, and David M. Wootton, Ph.D., professor of Mechanical Engineering, C. V. Starr Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and associate director, Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering, Albert Nerken School of Engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, will bring their unique expertise in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis and bioengineering to take a novel approach to understanding the complexities of this sleep disorder.
Using biomarkers such as oxygen saturation and heart rate obtained during sleep studies, multi-dimensional airway images from MRI, and complex computer modeling to simulate air flow and pressure through the respiratory cycle, the team will create a biomechanical model that will enable them to study the mechanics of the upper airway during periods of both wakefulness and sleep in obese teenage children at risk for OSAS.
The five year observational study will enroll 140 adolescents between 12 and 17-years-old. Over a two year period researchers will analyze patients’ breathing while both awake and asleep. They will also evaluate the various treatment options for OSAS to better understand why some obese children have OSAS, while others do not, and examine the reasons why only some patients have success with certain OSAS therapies.
Dr. Arens directs the Sleep Center at CHAM, a full-service sleep laboratory and evaluation center with a multidisciplinary team providing diagnosis and treatment of each child's sleep problems; working closely with parents and caregivers in a family-centered environment to deliver better results for patients. He has been funded for the past 18 years by the NIH for his research in the field of sleep apnea in children.
About Montefiore Health SystemMontefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 10 hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and close to 200 outpatient care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information please visit www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter and view us on Facebook and YouTube.
About Albert Einstein College of MedicineAlbert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Einstein is home to 731 M.D. students, 193 Ph.D. students, 106 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 278 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2015, Einstein received $148 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center—Einstein’s founding hospital, and three other hospital systems in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island, Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.