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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on December 18th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: December 18, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

While You Were Sleeping: What Sleep Technologists Need to Know This Week

sleeping camel

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

The curator is taking a holiday break from WYWS and will return on Tuesday, January 15. 
Happy New Year and best wishes for a prosperous 2019!

2019 giphy

 

ADVOCATE WATCH

Year in Review
NARCOLEPSY NETWORK
December 17, 2018

From the recap: “As we look forward to 2019, we will continue fighting for the future of those with narcolepsy.”

Takeaway: The Narcolepsy Network has expanded their reach to multimedia efforts to educate about their particular interests. They also have launched recordings from their recent meeting. If you admire their efforts and want to help them, you can reach their volunteer coordinators for ways to contribute at https://narcolepsynetwork.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

CULTURE WATCH
New EEG Insights Offer Window into Hypersomnia Differential Diagnosis
SLEEP REVIEW
December 12, 2018 

From the article: “When providers come across patients who show signs of excessive sleepiness and frequent daytime sleep attacks, diagnostic tests like polysomnogram (PSG) and multiple sleep latency tests (MSLTs) help screen for idiopathic hypersomnia and narcolepsy. But as numerous studies and narcolepsy patient accounts have shown, even MSLTs can show invalid results that can create missed opportunities for proper diagnosis.

Takeaway: I spend a lot of time in sleep health forums where patients complain frequently about not trusting their hypersomnia diagnoses (especially when they are given an IH diagnosis, which somehow seems "less than" what they expect after going through an NPSG-MSLT bundle). This article confirms their inclination toward a second study when results are inconclusive or seem to be inaccurate.

INDUSTRY WATCH

The (Still) Elusive Definition of Hypopnea
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL SLEEP MEDICINE
December 15
, 2018 

From the commentary: “The paper by Won et al.10 in this issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine provides a useful perspective on the issue of hypopnea definition by including outcome data based on the two different scoring criteria.

Takeaway: Here's a New Year's resolution sleep techs will get behind: Dear sleep scoring policymakers: make up your minds about hypopnea scoring!

TREND WATCH

Addressing Sleep Disorders After Traumatic Brain Injury
SLEEP REVIEW
December 13, 2018

From the article: “A special issue of NeuroRehabilitation focuses on the interplay of sleep and TBI, with the aim of improving both diagnosis and treatment of these problems. …This thematic issue covers the effects of TBI on patterns of sleep function; the approach to the evaluation and diagnosis of sleep disorders; how sleep disorders affect various aspects of physiological, emotional, and, cognitive functioning; and the pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment of sleep disturbances following TBI. Introducing the issue, guest editor David Ripley, MD, MS, of Northwestern University, says in a release, 'Our system of care typically does not do the best job of recognizing sleep as a problem after serious illness and injury. Hospitals, especially intensive care settings, are frequently poor at allowing patients adequate, restful sleep due to the presence of equipment, the need for frequent monitoring, the facility design, and the disruption of nursing interventions.'” 

Takeaway: Discussions about sports-related concussions and the continued problem of brain trauma among vets has led to this thorough dialog about the role of sleep in TBI, even after treatment. This is a problem that will not go away until all medical specialties recognize the unique connection sleep has to brain function following traumatic injury. 

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Clinical Use of a Home Sleep Apnea Test: An Updated American Academy of Sleep Medicine Position Statement
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL SLEEP MEDICINE
December 15, 2018

From the position paper: “[Criteria #6]: The raw data from the HSAT device must be reviewed and interpreted by a physician who is either board-certified in sleep medicine or overseen by a board-certified sleep medicine physician.

Takeaway: Not news for most sleep techs, but this position paper affirms the AASM's support for policies adopted by the American Medical Association about a year ago and drives home the necessity that these tests require oversight from boarded sleep doctors, in case other medical professionals step up with the belief they can review and interpret without sleep credentials.   

PHARMA WATCH

How Bad Is It to Take an Antihistamine to Sleep Every Night?
SELF
December 13, 2018

From the article: “'The big problem with this kind of medication is that it lasts a fairly long time in your system,' [Stanford Sleep Medicine Center sleep specialist] Dr. [Rafael] Pelayo says. The lingering effect of a standard adult dose (25 to 50 milligrams, i.e., one to two pills or liquid doses) will likely not be incredibly strong, [Mt. Sinai director of Sleep Medicine Research] Dr. [David] Rapoport says, but it may be enough to make you feel sleepy or foggy-headed the next morning. Other side effects are mild and can include dry mouth, nose, and throat; dizziness, constipation; headache; and nausea, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  …You can also build up a tolerance to DPH fairly quickly. '[Antihistamines] tend to stop working,' Dr. Rapoport says. 'The body adapts to them.'” 

Takeaway: Probably a lot of sleep techs will call me a buzzkill for including this information, but you really need to know what you're getting yourself into every morning you pop some diphenhydramine (DPH) before going to bed. 

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

What Is Health Literacy and Why Do I Need It?
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
December 14, 2018

From the article: “Anyone can leave a doctor's office feeling overloaded with information given too quickly to take it all in with perfect recall, [Lindsay Mayberry, assistant professor in general medicine and public health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center] notes. 'If you can go home and fill those gaps—if you know how to seek the right information; if you know how to get in touch with your doctor's office to ask those questions, or if you know reliable sources that you can go to to understand questions you might have about your healththat all indicates health literacy,' she says. It's about being able to use and access information.  …On the other hand, Mayberry says, 'If you leave your doctor's visit and you're confused and you don't really know where to go with thatyou feel an inability to make sense of itthat can indicate some deficits in health literacy.'”

Takeaway: Everyone can stand to become more health literate, even sleep health professionals. 

REGULATORY WATCH

Physicians, Patients Vow to Overturn Ruling Striking Down ACA
MEDSCAPE
December 15, 2018

From the article: “Almost as soon as a Texas judge ruled yesterday that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional, proponents of the law—including physicians' organizations, which had filed briefs in support—vowed to appeal the decision. 'Today's decision is an unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections and other policies that have extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans,' said Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of the American Medical Association (AMA), in a statement sent to Medscape Medical News.” 

Takeaway: While not specific to sleep medicine, this shift in national policy has impacts for millions of people with pre-existing conditions which include many, if not most, sleep disorders.


BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also an independent sleep health journalist, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.