Study Finds TENS Device, Usually Used for Pain Relief, May be Useful in Sleep Apnea Interview with:
Joerg Steier PhD
Professor of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine
Guy’s & St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
King’s College London What is the background for this study? Where is the TENS unit applied?

Response: Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea hold their breath at night, which fragments their sleep and leads to daytime symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness. Keeping the tone of the neuromuscular structures, particularly the hypoglossal nerve and the genioglossus muscle, elevated at night using electrical current has become an established treatment over the last decade.

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation, however, is using an implantable device, is costly, and requires surgical intervention. The novelty in the current study is that using a transcutaneous electrical neurostimulator (TENS) that is placed underneath the chin in the submental area can achieve significant improvements sleep apnoea severity and associated symptoms as well.

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Study Finds Opioids No Better Than Placebo for Back or Neck Pain Relief Interview with:
Christine Lin | Professor
The University of Sydney                                           
Sydney Musculoskeletal Heatlh
Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney School of Public Health
Institute for Musculoskeletal Health                             
Gadigal Country King George V Building
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital NSW Australia What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioids are one of the most commonly prescribed pain medicines for low back pain and neck pain, but before this trial we did not have robust, direct evidence that they are effective for acute low back pain and neck pain. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that taking opioids did not relieve acute low back pain and neck pain in the short term, and led to worse outcomes in the long term. We randomly assigned people with acute low back pain or neck pain to take opioids or placebo (identical tablets but with no active ingredients) for up to 6 weeks, in addition to getting the best advise on how to manage their pain from their doctor. We followed these people up for 1 year.

At 6 weeks, people in the opioid group did not report lower pain levels compared to people in the placebo group. Nor were there differences in pain outcomes at 2 and 4 weeks, or in other outcomes such as physical function, recovery time, or quality of life.

Surprisingly at 1 year, people who took opioids had slightly worse pain and an increased risk of opioid misuse.

Cognitive Functional Therapy: Clinical and Cost-Effective Pain Reduction For Chronic, Disabling Low Back Pain Interview with:
Peter Kent
Adjunct Associate Professor
Curtin School of Allied Health
Curtin University, Perth
WA, Australia What is the background for this study?

Response: Although there had been clinical trials of Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) with promising results, there had not been a fully powered trial comparing CFT with usual care, nor any trials in Australia. Previous trials had included a maximum of 3 CFT clinicians, whereas the RESTORE trial included the training of 18 physiotherapists to CFT competency who had minimal prior exposure to CFT. No previous CFT trial had included an evaluation of 6161615g8cost effectiveness of CFT, nor examined whether the use of wearable motion sensor biofeedback might enhance the effect of CFT.

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Higher Potency Cannabis Associated With Greater Risk of Addiction Interview with:
Kat Petrilli, PhD Student
Addiction and Mental Health Group (AIM)
Department of Psychology
University of Bath  What is the background for this study? 

cannabis marijuana weed pot

Response: Cannabis is the third most used drug globally, after alcohol and nicotine. Experimental studies show that THC, the main psychoactive component, causes intoxication, cognitive impairments, as well as symptoms of anxiety and psychosis-like experiences and these effects are dose-dependent, which means that higher potency cannabis products (products with high THC concentrations) could increase the risk of harm to cannabis users. 

Previous studies have shown that concentrations of THC in cannabis have increased over the years. In the US and Europe concentrations of THC in cannabis have more than doubled over the past 10 years. In addition, new legal markets have facilitated the appearance of cannabis products with higher potencies than earlier products, such as cannabis concentrates. We also know from previous studies that cannabis use is associated with mental health disorders and 22% of people who use cannabis are estimated to meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder (CUD) or cannabis addiction. 

International increases in cannabis potency and the availability of higher potency cannabis products makes it especially pressing to understand the association of cannabis potency with mental health outcomes. 

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