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Implants to stop snoring; kids and happiness

IMPLANT TO STOP SLEEP APNEA

A new kind of implant may offer people suffering from sleep apnea an alternative to wearing an air mask while they snooze, researchers report.

With the chest implant, a pacemaker delivers electrical impulses to a nerve that controls the tongue and maintains the muscle tone of a sleeping person's upper airway, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

These impulses reduced nightly sleep apnea events by about 68 percent, according to the results of the one-year clinical trial. The technology also decreased by 70 percent the number of times a person's blood oxygen level dropped due to sleep apnea.

Not surprisingly, patients reported a 40 percent improvement in their ability to stay awake during the day, the researchers added.

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person's breathing pauses or grows shallow while sleeping.

HAPPINESS WITH OR WITHOUT KIDS

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A new study suggests that middle-aged parents in the United States living with younger children are no more satisfied or happy than childless people.

The study isn't a definitive take on the well-being of adults with and without children. Still, it does suggest that people tend to make the right personal decisions about parenthood, said study author Angus Deaton of Princeton University.

Within the limits of the study, "there's no big difference in life satisfaction between those who have kids and those who don't, once you take into account their various life situations," he said.

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