About the Apnea Web Site

Apnea: Understanding and Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the third in a projected series of Web sites produced by the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine and WGBH Educational Foundation. The overall goal of this project is to translate medical and scientific research on sleep in a way that makes it accessible and useful to the general audience. Both organizations are doing this in the hope that accurate information presented clearly will help individuals improve their sleep, a vital component of human health.

In this module, the focus is specifically on the causes, consequences, diagnosis, and treatment of adult obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Although obstructive sleep apnea occurs in children, it should be emphasized that the content of this module does not address childhood obstructive sleep apnea. It is hoped that in the future, a separate module will address this problem. Accordingly, the aim is to help people recognize whether they, their family, or their friends have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, and what the diagnostic and treatment options are for this serious condition. In addition, the site highlights the detrimental effects of obstructive sleep apnea, not only on sleep and wakefulness, but on other aspects of health and well-being.

Video profiles of four patients (beginning with professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal) highlight the impact obstructive sleep apnea has had on their lives, as well as the benefits of successful diagnosis and treatment.

The What Is OSA section provides a review of what occurs physiologically during obstructive sleep apnea and highlights the symptoms and risk factors for this condition. The Living with OSA section documents the detrimental impact OSA can have on one's life. In addition, the consequences that OSA may have on society as a whole are emphasized. Finally, the Diagnosing OSA and Treating OSA sections outline the options for confirming a diagnosis and discuss the treatment options for OSA.

A production team of video, multimedia, and editorial staff worked to create the videos, essays, and interactive activities on this site, at the direction of researchers and physicians at the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine (DSM).

The site includes videos, essays, and interactive activities, as well as additional references, resources, and links. All of the material on this site has been written by professional science writers at WGBH Educational Foundation, under the direction of the editor-in-chief of the DSM's Sleep and Health Education Program, Dr. Stuart Quan. The site's content has been reviewed by members of the DSM faculty, as well as by an external editorial board.

This site was originally launched on April 1, 2011, and is maintained by the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine. Last revision performed on August 15, 2012.

For a complete list of the personnel involved in the creation of this site, please visit the Credits page.