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Our Research

Dr. Lowe has lectured extensively both nationally and internationally in the areas of neurophysiology and orthodontics with particular emphasis on the control of tongue posture, the surgical and orthodontic management of open-bite malocclusions, the future role of undergraduate orthodontic training and the etiology and treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Current research projects under his direction include an analysis of the relative effectiveness of specific oral appliances used in the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. His research activities have been funded by both provincial and federal governments and he has published extensively. In addition, he has successfully filed three U.S. patents. Dr. Lowe was awarded a grant by the Canadian government through the National Centres of Excellence (Inspiraplex) program to undertake a four year multicenter clinical trial to compare in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea the effectiveness, side effects and compliance of a new oral appliance (Klearway™) and nasal continuous positive airway pressure.

Areas of special interest and accomplishments:

i) The evaluation of specific oral appliances for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The Faculty of Dentistry at The University of British Columbia is the leading research center in the world in the field of oral appliances and the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The results of crossover trials of two oral appliances as compared to nasal CPAP have impacted sleep physicians worldwide. An NCE multicenter intent-to-treat clinical trial which compared an adjustable oral appliance (invented by the writer and patented by UBC) to nasal CPAP has received international acclaim. A covert compliance monitor for intraoral use has been developed and patented. Testing of a remotely controlled titration device used during overnight sleep studies may provide simpler and shorter titration protocols for sleep apnea patients. A large retrospective survey of some 400 patients treated in our Sleep Disorder Clinic will provide valuable information as to subject perceptions of long term (more than five year) wear.

ii) The quantification of dentoskeletal, neuromuscular and soft tissue variables in subjects with snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The first published cephalometric standards for sleep apnea subjects based on our data and are extensively used by physicians, dentists, orthodontists and sleep specialists. Ongoing evaluations of long term treatment effects and the cephalometric predictors of good and poor responders are underway.

iii) The study of the mechanisms which initiate and coordinate tongue and jaw muscle activity as they relate to jaw position, respiration, snoring and sleep apnea. Our findings of atypical tongue muscle activity related to changes in the vertical dimension in skeletal open bite subjects have a direct influence on orthodontic clinical practice. Abnormalities in genioglossus muscle activity are being evaluated in both control and sleep apnea subjects in both awake and asleep projects.  Changes in jaw position during sleep are being quantified with a JAWSENS device during standard polysomnography

iv) The development of a computerized model and cephalometric analysis facility for both research and clinical purposes.  Two and three dimensional analyses of specific orofacial structures for various skeletal subtypes and in control and sleep apnea subjects have provided clinical standards for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.  A Microscribe System, which records the position of a point in three dimensions and does not expose a patient to any form of radiation, is used to quantify craniofacial form.

v)  The testing of various titration monitors for clinical application in snoring and sleep apnea patients.  Reports from bed partners are notoriously unreliable so we have published evaluations of two portable monitors and are currently testing a third.  Such monitors will significantly improve the success rates of various oral appliances as we develop reliable outcome measures prior to traditional polysomnography obtained in a sleep laboratory.  


The Inventor


Selected Publications
since 2000

Book Chapters

Patents and Licenses

Our Research