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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on October 2nd, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 2, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

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



Mind, Body and Sport: Sleep Disorders
September 27, 2018 

From the blog post: “There hasn’t been much research on student-athlete sleep patterns and problems, but given the timing of practices, travel and competition, student-athletes are likely at high risk of sleep difficulties. In addition, extra time demands, including balancing athletics with academics, can reduce sleep opportunity. …An American College Health Association survey found that on average, most student-athletes report four nights of insufficient sleep per week. However, insomnia diagnosis was very low, at 3 percent in athletes versus 2 percent in non-athletes. …An NCAA study showed that one-third of student-athletes get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, with greater values among women. …Other studies have shown that improving sleep can lead to better performance. As such, it would benefit athletics departments to monitor their student-athletes’ sleeping patterns to ensure proper behaviors.

Takeaway: Our own Brendan Duffy spoke about this topic at last weekend's sleep meeting. It's a natural discussion to have within the context of the Start School Later campaign, as well, since many school districts which start school at later bell times still manage to make extra demands on student athletes (and music students, to some degree) by requiring morning practices or "zero period" studio time.


Acute sleep deprivation and culpable motor vehicle crash involvement
September 18, 2018 

From the research study: “Study Objective: To quantify the relationship between acute sleep deprivation and culpable involvement in motor vehicle crashes.

Takeaway: Research continues to show a relationship between sleep deprivation (by any cause, including inadequate sleep) and collisions. Sleep techs take heed; it's easy to work a full week of shifts and not get at least 7 hours of sleep between them. 


Medical students definitely need to learn professionalism. But can it be taught?
September 17, 2018

From the column: “Without intentionally tracking their formation, medical students will passively absorb the habits and ethics of their peers and superiors, and call those around them to participate accordingly (for good or for ill).

Takeaway: There were multiple discussions reflecting the AAST's efforts to raise the levels of professionalism within our field. This editorial piece can be applied to the way we raise up newer techs within our own ranks—those who will replace the older ones as they near retirement. Your professionalism both on the job and out in the community is an example you should be proud that others will follow.


PPAHS Makes Plans to Evaluate Hospitals on Sleep Apnea Preparedness
September 26, 2018

From the article: “The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) and Brian Evans, singer and nominee for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, have made plans to evaluate hospitals on their sleep apnea preparedness. …Almost six years after a lawsuit for negligence was filed, a verdict was handed down on September 17, 2018, in the case of Helen Marie Bousquet, who died after knee surgery: One of the defendants settled the case before the jury verdict and one of the nursing defendants was found negligent. Bousquet’s son says the case highlights the need for better assessment of patients for sleep apnea and for better treatment and monitoring of such patients before, during, and after surgery. In honor of the memory of Bousquet, PPAHS has announced the creation of the Helen Marie Bousquet Fund.”

Takeaway: It's not just sleep laboratories that need to be cognizant of sleep-related deaths due to negligence.


Sleep Cycle adds ‘snore detection’ to its sleep-tracking Android app
September 25, 2018

From the website: “If you don’t actually know if you’re snoring, the app will clue you into that as well with the feature enabled. You’ll be able to see how many minutes you snored, and listen to it as well.”

Takeaway: Individuals who are worried about snoring might be able to launch this app and confirm or deny it happens, and so can bed partners who need to prove the snoring problem to their loved ones.


Study on Abuse Potential Of Pitolisant Meets Primary Endpoint
September 28, 2018

From the article: “French pharmaceutical company Bioprojet SCR presented new human abuse potential data on pitolisant at the 24th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) in Basel, Switzerland. Pitolisant is an investigational product in the United States that was studied in Europe and approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2016 for the treatment of adult patients with narcolepsy with or without cataplexy. Harmony Biosciences LLC acquired exclusive rights in 2017 to develop and register pitolisant in the United States.” 

Takeaway: This data should help with efforts to approve pitolisant as a narcolepsy medication by the FDA, which is good news for those who struggle with limited treatment options.


Revisiting my fight with a CPAP machine
September 23, 2018

From the personal commentary:  “The improvement I’ve seen in different health areas has been well worth the struggle, but I still think that the instructions I was given about assembling and using the machine at first could have been done much more effectively. I realize that the instructor may have been working with CPAP machines a long time and may have even been a bit bored with the repetition. She tended to go through everything so fast that I was left wondering how in the world I would ever remember all the instructions she gave me!” 

Takeaway: We have an obligation to our patients to ensure they are confident and comfortable with using their CPAP when they first start using it. Not all patients will give CPAP a second shot like this one did. 


Widow Of Drowsy-Driving Victim Brent Hershman Urges “No” Vote On IATSE Contract
September 24, 2018

From the article: Deborah Eden, whose husband Brent Hershman was killed while driving home after working a 19-hour day on Pleasantville in 1997, has joined the 'Vote No to Save Lives' movement, urging IATSE members to reject the union’s new film and TV contract. …'Please vote no!' she posted on Facebook. Ratification ballots were sent recently to 43,000 members of the union’s 13 West Coast studio locals and will be counted on October 10.”

Takeaway: This appears to be a growing problem among film and television studios, which have been criticized in the past few years for working their staff into heavy overtime, leaving them to drive home sleep deprived after long days of filming (rather than provide them with on-site sleeping arrangements). 

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.