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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on October 9th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 9, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping canadian goose

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



Sleep Apnea and Breast Cancer Survival
October 2, 2018 

From the blog post: “Results show that women who had reported sleeping 6 hours or less per night and snoring 5 or more nights per week were 2 times more likely to die from breast cancer. They were compared with women who reported sleeping at least 7 hours nightly with no snoring.

Takeaway: Bonnie Robertson spoke about the links between cancer (including breast cancer) and poor sleep at last week's sleep meeting. As shift workers, we need to stay vigilant about getting adequate sleep, not only for our patients, but for ourselves.


Sexual Assault And Harassment May Have Lasting Health Repercussions For Women
October 3, 2018 

From the report “In the study of roughly 300 middle-aged women, an experience of sexual assault was associated with anxiety, depression and poor sleep. A history of workplace sexual harassment was also associated with poor sleep and with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Takeaway: Try to keep this in the back of your mind when you work with female patients (in particular) as the long-term trauma experienced will have a lasting impact on their sleep health whether they acknowledge it or not. Compassion should be our default mode when we are working with patients in the lab. (The same is true for ANYONE who has been sexually assaulted, which can include men and children.) 


Investigators Reconsider ASV Device Risks for CSA-HFrEF Patients
October 7, 2018

From the article: “A pair of new analyses bring a differing perspective to the debate surrounding adaptive servo ventilation (ASV) device therapy in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

Takeaway: This is encouraging, though more research needs to be done to continue to examine the risks and rewards of adaptive servo ventilation. 


Caregivers or marketers? Nurses paid by drug companies facing scrutiny as whistleblower lawsuits mount
October 7, 2018

From the article: “to detractors, the nurse — and others like her, who are often known as “nurse educators” — blur the line between caregiver and marketer, raising ethical questions for both the nurses who deliver the care and the companies that pay their salaries. …In lawsuits filed over the past year against several of the largest drug makers, whistleblowers have raised questions about whether the use of nursing staffs — which AbbVie called nurse ambassadors — is medically appropriate or a multimillion-dollar violation of public trust. The lawsuits contend the companies hired third-party contractors to deploy nurses — sometimes by phone, sometimes in patient’s homes — to ensure that prescriptions were refilled. The drug makers also allegedly provided kickbacks to physicians in the form of free insurance processing assistance, medical practice management software, and marketing assistance to persuade them to prescribe their drugs. 'This is marketing laundered through your doctor,' said Adriane Fugh-Berman, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, who runs PharmedOut, a project that examines the influence drug makers have on the practice of medicine.”

Takeaway: Patient trust in an age of expensive therapies and inequity in insurance coverage is at an all-time low, for a reason. As sleep technologists, we do not handle medications at all but we do handle other prescription items (PAP machines) which we need to make sure we provide in a completely transparent way.


Hypertension Research Uses mHealth Wearables to Improve Outcomes
October 5, 2018

From the website: “Sujit Dey, Director of the Center for Wireless Communications at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Po-Han Chiang, a graduate student in the Mobile Systems Design Lab, developed an algorithm based on sleep, exercise and blood pressure data taken from eight patients who wore a Fitbit Charge HR and Omron Evolve wireless blood pressure monitor for 30 days.”

Takeaway: It's encouraging to see that sleep quality and quantity measures are part of so many wearable technology applications.


Sleepy Teens More Prone to Drug Use, Suicide Attempts
October 1, 2018

From the article: “Compared to eight-hour-a-night sleepers, those who averaged less than six hours a night were twice as likely to say they had smoked cigarettes, used alcohol, marijuana or other drugs, or had driven after drinking. They were also three times more likely to consider or attempt suicide, and almost twice as likely to carry a weapon or to fight, the researchers found.” 

Takeaway: If you aren't working with teens in your lab setting, be prepared to see them once these sleepy teens become 18 because sleep problems for them are only going to be compounded by increased use of drugs and alcohol, untreated or underdiagnosed mental health problems, with drowsy driving additionally already a problem for this population. 


Robert Molinari: "A sleep study saved my life"
October 6, 2018

From the personal commentary:  “Snoring so loudly that I kept everyone else awake, always feeling exhausted, and even falling asleep while standing up in the plumbing department at Lowe’s while my friend shopped finally convinced me that I needed to find out what was wrong with me.” 

Takeaway: Who doesn't crave a good news story about now? 


Des Moines mother who gave kids sleep medication gets probation
October 6, 2018

From the article: “Brown-Edmundson was arrested June 17 after police found her intoxicated in her home in the 3800 block of East 27th Street. …Her 8-year-old son had wandered to a neighborhood gathering that afternoon and attendees noticed the child did not look well, said Sgt. Paul Parizek, a spokesman for Des Moines police. The child told adults he was worried because he could not wake up his sleeping mother.

Takeaway: Unfortunately, there's no way to know from the article what kind of sleep aid was actually given to the children. Was it zolpidem? Melatonin? Unisom? Details matter. 

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.