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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on November 13th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 13, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping binturong

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



Mother outraged after claiming her narcoleptic daughter was told to sleep in school closet
November 7, 2018

From the article: “According to [the girl's mother], Farnsworth has a doctor’s note that allows her to take naps at Virginia Williamson Elementary School in Bolivia. Farnsworth has taken these naps for several years, but on Tuesday, Petty learned where those short snoozes have been happening. …'At the parent-teacher conference, they said she takes her naps in a closet in the room because it’s dark and quiet in there and they don’t want her to be disturbed,' said Petty. Before this year, Petty said Farnsworth would sleep on a mat in the classroom or even at her desk, not alone in a closet.”

Takeaway: If you're a tech working in or near New Brunswick County, NC, here's a great opportunity to educate the public through letters to the editor of the local paper, blog posts, link shares on community websites with supplementary content, phone calls to the school, even statements made in public at meetings of the school board or county commissioners.


Disrupted circadian rhythms may drive anxiety and exacerbate brain disorders
November 5, 2018 

From the research: “Sleep disruptions are associated with many brain disorders, including anxiety, dementias, and traumatic brain injury. While these disruptions are sometimes viewed as a side effect of brain disorders, new findings suggest that aberrant sleep-wake cycles can also drive brain pathology. The studies were presented at Neuroscience 2018, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

Takeaway: This opens up that age-old chicken or egg scenario: which comes first?


CMS Grants Outpatient Pass-through Payment to Remedē System for Central Sleep Apnea
November 6
, 2018 

From the article: “Remedē is an implantable device that uses phrenic nerve stimulation to treat central sleep apnea. This announcement follows the CMS New Technology Add-on Payment (NTAP), granted to the remedē System in August, for procedures performed in an inpatient setting. …Transitional Pass-through Payment is a Medicare program designed to supplement the payment for innovative medical technologies that substantially improve the diagnosis or treatment of a disease in outpatient settings. The Pass-through Payment program will provide hospitals with additional reimbursement and will become effective on January 1, 2019.

Takeaway: Great news for Medicare patients with central sleep apnea who need easier and better ways for reimbursement (and for the labs that treat them).


WATCH NOW: “Translating the Patient Story into Action”
November 6, 2018

From the blog: “Hosted by the Society for Participatory Medicine, this webinar features a few different perspectives on raising your voice in the healthcare space.

Takeaway: Julie Flygare is a huge force behind the narcolepsy awareness movement. We can learn a few things from her about addressing the patient perspective, and patient-driven and patient-centered ideas are beginning to creep into the sleep medicine space, besides.


Tracking Jaw Movements as a Tool to Measure Oral Appliance Efficacy
November 6, 2018

From the article: “'The novelty of the study related to tracking sleep [mandibular movements] in order to assess oral appliance therapy effectiveness,' says lead investigator Jean-Benoit Martinot, MD, Sleep Laboratory, CHU UCL Namur Site Sainte-Elisabeth, Namur, Belgium, in a release. 'Our study suggested for the first time that [mandibular movements] monitoring represents a powerful tool for assessing the efficacy of OAT [oral appliance therapy] treatment.'” 

Takeaway: This is part of the missing link that has kept many from viewing oral appliances as a viable alternative to PAP therapies. Proving efficacy by tracking and measuring mandibular movement, and linking it to lower AHI and better patient adherence and outcomes, makes it harder to argue against OAT as a therapeutic option worth trying. 


About Belsomra
October 31, 2018

From the video notes: “Thanks for tuning in, today I discuss the new sleep medicine Belsomra.  It is competing with a lot of other options like Ambien (Zolpidem), Lunesta, Unisom, Zzzquil and a lot of others.” 

Takeaway: Jeff the Pharmacist is for real. Dr. Jeffrey Paup, PharmD is a community pharmacist and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy . We may not like that patients are going to Google and YouTube for information about sleep health, but at least we have people like Dr. Paup there to keep it accessible and real. 


Physicians Don’t Talk Enough with Patients About Non-Medical Needs
November 9, 2018

From the website: “The top issues doctors discuss with patients are physical health (74%), test results (56%), medications (52%), and exercise (51%), only one-third broach the subject of mental health. Furthermore, only 44% discuss food, 40% sleep, 13% the patient’s environment, and 11% what brings a person joy and happiness.”

Takeaway: Maybe CCSH credential holders could introduce the idea that sleep should be part of "vital signs" through presentations at local primary care and urgency care clinics. 


Sleep Apnea VA Disability claims are about more than just snoring
November 2, 2018

From the video notes: “If you are relying on evidence of snoring alone to win your sleep apnea VA disability claim, you are probably not going to like the outcome.” 

Takeaway: Practical advice from a lawyer who handles veterans disability claims. Could  be useful if you work with a lot of vets who have OSA concerns but who are concerned about getting coverage from the VA for testing and treatment. Disclaimer: This lawyer is also pitching an upcoming book. 

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.