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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on December 4th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: December 4, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping penguins

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


 

ADVOCATE WATCH

Words Matter: At The Crossroads Of Innovation And Dignity
LIFE SCIENCE LEADER
October 4, 2018

From the column by Julie Flygare: “From the front lines, I can report this: Words matter. In my current role, I train people with narcolepsy on sharing their story effectively via writing and speaking. In this program, our advocates learn to use person-first language ('people with narcolepsy') instead of disease-first language (like 'narcoleptics' or 'narcoleptic patients') along with neutral language ('living with' or 'diagnosed with') instead of superfluously emotionally charged language (like 'crippled by,' 'afflicted by,' 'victims,' or 'sufferers').”

Takeaway: Want to become a great sleep health advocate? Learn from the best. Julie Flygare is a fantastic trailblazer, in this respect. PS: I'm just as guilty of using the wrong language as anybody; in the meantime, I'm also a person with a chronic illness. I can personally support that these suggestions really improve the dialog for everyone involved. 

CULTURE WATCH
Snoring can worsen heart function, especially in women
MEDICAL NEWS TODAY
December 2, 2018 

From the article: “According to a new study presented recently at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America — held in Chicago, IL — snoring and OSA may lead to earlier impairment of cardiac function in women than in men.

Takeaway: The myth that sleep apnea is mostly dangerous for men continues to prevent many women from seeking the help they need for their sleep breathing problems. Keep this in mind when you have female patients who resist believing they could have sleep apnea, as well as patients who are the bed partners of women who snore. We need to support a concerted effort to connect more sleep-disordered women with the diagnosis and treatment they need. 

INDUSTRY WATCH

WVU Medicine otolaryngologists perform state’s first robotic sleep surgery
WVU MEDICINE
December 2
, 2018 

From the article: “WVU Medicine otolaryngologists Steven Coutras, M.D., and Rusha Patel, M.D., performed the state’s first robotic tongue base volume reduction procedure to treat a patient with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This procedure is available to patients who have not had success with other sleep apnea interventions.

Takeaway: Surgery for sleep apnea is still an option on the table for many patients, and strides are being made in this arena. 

TREND WATCH

Are U.S. Adults Reporting Less Sleep?: Findings from Sleep Duration Trends in the National Health Interview Survey, 2004-2017
SLEEP
December 3, 2018

From the accepted manuscript's statement of significance: “Inadequate sleep remains a public health concern. Recent social, economic, and technological changes may have increased the risk of inadequate sleep for the U.S. adult population and especially for racial/ethnic minorities. Using data from the 2004-2017 National Health Interview Survey, we document self-reported sleep duration trends for the U.S. adult population and by race/ethnicity after adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral health covariates. We find increasing reports of short sleep duration from 2013-2017 driven primarily by increasing short sleep among black and Hispanic adults. These trends are worrisome as they could exacerbate racial/ethnic health inequalities. Future research should examine how societal level changes in the economy and technology are related to trends in short sleep duration among U.S. adults.” 

Takeaway: It's refreshing to see research breakdowns that consider trends among race/ethnicity, as some segments of our population may experience more problems with sleep health because of social inequities. For medical research to be legitimate, it must take into account the subjective and objective data gathered from all communities, not just the white (and often male or straight only) communities, something that hasn't been done in the past.

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Mattress firm tells customers beds do not record them sleeping
THE GUARDIAN
November 30, 2018

From the article: “Concerned owners began contacting the company after Michael Farrell, a web designer who spotted the clause, shared it on Twitter. Farrell took the phrase to mean there was a microphone inside the mattress listening to users, prompting several to get in touch with the company asking how they could stop their beds from recording them while they sleep.

Takeaway: This viral news story follows on the heels of another spate of viral news stories which suggested CPAP machines are spying on their users. Which all goes to show you that clarification of information gathering through medical technology needs to be established between healthcare providers and patients from the outset, or else patients are going to find yet another reason to not use their PAP machines and other digital medical gadgets and another reason not to trust their doctors. 

PHARMA WATCH

Drugstore sleep aids may bring more risks than benefits
HARVARD HEALTH PUBLISHING
December 1, 2018

From the article: “'People don't realize that these companies are basically just repackaging one product,' [Dr. Suzanne Bertisch, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School] says. Most sleep aids are antihistamines, which are also commonly used in allergy medications. 'People taking sleep aids are essentially taking Benadryl [diphenhydramine]. They don't realize that's what most sleep aids are,' said Dr. Bertisch.” 

Takeaway: We should already know this as sleep techs who may be a particular population who also needs sleep aids. But do our patients know the inside scoop on drugstore sleep aids?

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

Surviving and thriving in the digital age
THE HIPPOCRATIC POST
December 3, 2018

From the blog post: “There is a danger that sitting too much in front of a screen will disrupt and inhibit this stage. It is interesting that the CEO of Netflix said that the streaming channel’s main competitor is your sleep. The auto-play feature at the end of interminable episodes literally makes it difficult to stop watching. The notification time to allow you to switch off before the action kicks off again is just five seconds. Ironically, Netflix is a subscriber services [company] and doesn’t actually need to keep people glued [to it] all the time, but it is like an arms race or gold rush mentality has taken over, and they want to be the ‘most viewed’.”

Takeaway: It's a shame this blog post is directed toward young people because it addresses problems every age group faces. 

REGULATORY WATCH

New CVSA policy stresses that inspectors shouldn’t interrupt off-duty drivers for random inspection
OVERDRIVE 
November 12, 2018

From the article: “'Our policy is to not wake up any drivers. As far as a co-driver needing to be woken up—it’s not something that we encourage, because it defeats the purpose at that point of the driver getting their rest. With ELDs, [inspectors] should have access to that information without having to wake up the driver anyway,' [said Collin Mooney, executive director of CVSA]. Readers have filed comments to Overdrive in recent years noting [that] interruptions for drivers in sleeper berths and off-duty status is sometimes an issue for team drivers. ” 

Takeaway: It's easy to demonize truck drivers for not getting enough sleep, but even the most conscientious drivers face these kinds of obstacles.


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.