black older woman sleeping

A new artificial intelligence tool for diagnosing sleep apnea created by researchers in South Korea could also make a difference for senior living operators in the US.

A research team at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital used deep learning models to study the tongue and surrounding areas, which are often connected to sleep apnea, to develop the AI-based sleep apnea detection tool. Using head and neck x-ray image data of nearly 6,000 patients at the hospital, the study found that the tool was highly accurate in detecting sleep apnea.

Around 1 billion people aged 30 and over globally have sleep apnea, which is growing due to risk factors such as obesity and craniofacial and upper airway abnormalities, researchers said. This method, compared to others on the market, allows senior living and other healthcare providers to test for sleep apnea more quickly and cost-effectively.

Elsewhere in the market, a Japanese research team is using AI to identify biomarkers related to sleeping disorders, and a sleep apnea test called SleepCheck Rx by Australian company ResApp received FDA clearance for the US last year.  Nursing homes and senior living providers could certainly put this technology to good use in improving resident health and safety, experts say. 

AI continues to make its mark in nursing homes and senior living communities. Besides sleep apnea, it’s also being used to monitor other health factors for seniors. Researchers from Monash University have created a new wearable patch that harnesses AI and nanotechnology to monitor seniors’ health via biometrics. The thin, wearable patch monitors 11 human health signals, including speech, neck movement and touch, plus breathing and heart rates.

AI’s making an impact in the treatment of mental health, as well. One recent study found that Apple Watches, measuring variability and resting heart rate, effectively gauged resilience, an individual’s ability to cope with adversity and other psychological factors.