Hi Everyone,

I love dogs. My wife and I have two, Tara and Sophie. One study I reviewed this week used dogs as subjects, which made it difficult to read. But, the dogs were not (technically) hurt, and we can’t change that it happened, so let’s at least make the most of the findings:

Obstructive sleep apnea causes hypertension

As the headline suggests, they found that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes hypertension. It was previously known that the two were associated, but this study showed a causal relationship. Because diabetics suffer from higher incidences of both OSA and hypertension, these results are especially important for us. They also suggest a practical way forward. We know from previous research that nasal breathing at night can reduce OSA and that slow breathing during the day can reduce hypertension. Therefore, the use of Principle 1 and Principle 2 has the potential to prevent the cause (OSA) and treat the effect (hypertension) at the same time. It’s nice (and rare!) when complicated science leads to practical solutions.

The second new science summary from this week has provoking quote:

Shut your mouth and save your brain

Sometimes I take for granted all of the information that we have instant access to through the Internet. But, when I am able to download a paper that was published over 100 years ago and find information that is still applicable today, I am very humbled. And, because this paper was published so long ago, it could get away with awesome quotes, as the headline suggests.

This paper was the “prequel” to a previous study we reviewed on the importance of nasal breathing during sleep for mental function. In this study, Dr. Guye underscores how important nasal breathing is in general for proper mental function. And, he encourages medical practitioners to to first look at the nose when examining patients with impaired mental clarity…his advice should probably be taken even more today! Read the entire summary below for more info.

In good breath,

P.S. Feel free to respond directly to this email with any questions or for further discussion. And if you missed last week’s newsletter, check it out here.

On aprosexia, being the inability to fix the attention and other allied troubles in the cerebral functions caused by nasal disorders - Guye (1889)

Key Points

  • The inability to focus attention is often caused by nasal disorders

  • Medical practitioners should focus on nasal disorders when examining cases of improper mental function

The Breathing Diabetic Summary

This paper was published over 100 years ago, which makes me really appreciate the written word and the Internet.  I found this one after reading the Lavie (1983) paper that reminded us, “While asleep, shut your mouth and save your brain.” <— That quote was inspired by this 1889 paper.

The entire paper was focused on the nose and mental function.  The author (Guye) coined a great word, aprosexia, which is the inability to focus one’s attention due to nasal disorders.  He argued in this short paper that many cases of “over-pressure” in schools, headache, and inability to perform difficult mental work could be resolved by simply fixing nasal respiration.  He suggested that medical practitioners take nasal disorders seriously and ensure that nasal breathing is not “habitually or temporarily suspended by breathing through the mouth.

Dr. Guye cited several anecdotal cases from his own practice where restoring proper nasal function improved patients’ ability to focus and work.  He really emphasized the role of nasal breathing in school.  (Remember this was 1889!)  He said that, with how much pressure is put on students, it is critical that they have proper nasal respiration.  He hypothesized (with his own case studies as evidence) that the students might not feel so over-pressured if they had normal nasal respiration and therefore proper mental functioning.  In the present fast-paced, information-filled world, I think this advice is even more important today.

And finally, he ended this short paper with a great quote:

Shut your mouth and save your brain.”