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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on August 1st, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: August 1, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice


How dentists screen for sleep apnea, sleep-centric marketing on the rise and chronic pain 

Your media watchdog for headlines and trends relevant to sleep technology and patient education.


Pediatric Pulmonologist and Sleep Medicine Expert Nanci Yuan Dies at 47
Sleep Review
July 21, 2016

From the article: “Yuan, who was known for her devoted work with children with severe forms of inherited muscle dysfunction and sleep disorders, built the Pediatric Sleep Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford into a nationally recognized program that now delivers diagnostic and therapeutic care to almost 2,000 children annually.

“She helped write the standards for caring for children with severe congenital muscle disease and introduced a home ventilator program that allowed young patients with chronic respiratory failure to receive life-sustaining breathing support at home rather than in the hospital, letting them spend more time with their families.”

Takeaway: Pediatric sleep research lost a really hard worker too soon. Dr. Yuan, thank you for your service to families everywhere and for your dedication and commitment to the sleep field.


Dentists: How to screen for sleep apnea
Sound Sleep Health
July 11, 2016

From the article: “Dental practitioners are in an excellent position to screen for sleep apnea to help identify these undiagnosed (and therefore, untreated) OSA patients. They:

  • have direct observational access to the physiological structures of their patients' upper airways.
  • are already screening chairside for other health conditions that can be easily spotted during a dental visit.
  • may see these patients more frequently than primary care physicians will, with nearly one quarter more likely to see a dentist than a doctor over any given time period.”

Takeaway: Sleep technologists can scroll down to the section on screening to review suggestions they can also adopt for use in their own patient assessments while on the job.

Disclaimer: The author of “While You Were Sleeping” authored this article and was compensated for it.


Why Sleep-Centric Marketing Is on the Rise
July 11, 2016

From the article: “Americans are notoriously—and increasingly—sleep deprived. More than one-third of the U.S. adult population admits to routinely not catching enough z's, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with serious sleep disorders on a steep incline. And where there's zombie-like sheep counting, there's opportunity.

“Enter a whole boatload of products, services, gadgets, books, supplements and programs to help us get more rest. They range from Huffington Post co-founder and editor in chief Arianna Huffington's history and how-to tome, The Sleep Revolution, to $13,000 sleep pods for the office to iPhone's new ‘night shift’ feature.”

Takeaway: Patients will be asking about these products; we need to know what they are talking about. We also need to be able to help them understand what they do (or don’t do) and whether it’s necessary for them to buy these products. Practicing good sleep hygiene rarely calls for purchasing expensive gadgets, beds, or books, after all. We know this, but do our patients?


How to Reduce Signal Artifact When Using Sleep Sensors
Sleep Review
July 15, 2016

From the article: “According to Todd Eiken, RPSGT, director of product development for Dymedix Diagnostics, ‘It is critically important that a sleep disorders technologist, as well as an interpreting physician, be able to identify and eliminate artifact that occurs during a PSG. Artifact can not only mask or reduce the visibility of clinically significant PSG information, but it can also create false-positive and false-negative results.’”

Takeaway: Here’s a great review of artifact identification and troubleshooting. Remember that the best studies are the cleanest and least compromised by questionable data collection.


Pain and Sleep: Exploring the Bidirectional Connection
Sleep Review
July 15, 2016

From the article: “’As one who has treated patients with acute and chronic pain for decades, I am well aware of the multiple bidirectional relationships between pain and sleep deprivation,’ says Daniel Carr, MD, professor of Public Health and Community Medicine and program director, Pain, Research Education & Policy at Tufts University.

‘Although widely appreciated for chronic pain (eg, fibromyalgia), the vicious cycle of sleep disruption, increased pain, and disruption of recovery is also well described in acute pain, such as after surgery. Interestingly, not only does sleep deprivation worsen pain and vice versa, but some medicines used to treat pain (eg, opioids) interfere with sleep architecture and reduce the normally restorative effect of sleep.’ Carr is also president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.”

Takeaway: We all know first-hand that pain is the enemy of sleep; this article highlights some best practices for understanding pain management as it relates to sleep quality, and shines a spotlight on key medications our patients may be taking which could be major influences on their sleep health.


New infographics help you share AASM sleep duration recommendations
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
July 14, 2016

From the article: “Now you can download two new infographics that present the sleep duration recommendations from the pediatric consensus statement that was recently published by the AASM and the adult consensus statement published last year by the AASM and the Sleep Research Society.  Share these resources to help the public understand how much sleep is recommended on a regular basis to promote optimal health.”

Takeaway: These new visual tools can help you share this important information with patients. Horizontal and vertical images are available to print and share or post on your own websites.


Democratic Party approves its 2016 health care platform
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
July 27, 2016

From the article: “The platform also supports empowering states to use innovation waivers under the ACA to develop local approaches to health coverage, which would include removing barriers for states that wish to experiment with plans to provide health care to every person in their state.”

Republican Party approves its 2016 health care platform
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
July 21, 2016

From the article: “The document states that if a Republican president is elected, he would use “legitimate waiver authority” to “halt” the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, the president would sign legislation to repeal the ACA. However, the document does not state whether Republicans would replace the ACA with another health reform plan.”

Takeaway: As a health care worker and as a US citizen, it’s your responsibility to know the differences between these platforms and how they relate not only to you as a patient, but also to your patient population and to you as a health care worker. It behooves us all to know the compelling arguments for and against both platforms, if only so that we can be articulate when patients wish to engage us in discussions about them. While it’s not generally a good idea to enter into political discussion with patients during a sleep study, we should still have intelligent answers when they do ask questions. Many patients do not understand how the health care system works, so we need to be educated enough about their questions to know how to respond, regardless our personal politics.

About the author

Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily.  She generates content for inboundMed and SomnoSure and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and MultipleSclerosis.net, among other places.

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