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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on September 18th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: September 18, 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.


 

ADVOCATE WATCH
Access to Care
AMERICAN ALLIANCE FOR HEALTHY SLEEP
September 7, 2018 

From the website: “Why is it important to have access to sleep care? Healthy sleep is one of the pillars of a healthy lifestyle as proper sleep, or lack thereof, affects daytime functioning and cognition, physical health, emotional wellness, safety and all aspects of your life.

Takeaway: This patient-centered sleep health coalition has come up with a regular access-to-care feature to help patients negotiate the challenges of finding appropriate care for their sleep problems. This particular post focuses on narcolepsy.

CULTURE WATCH

Psychosocial Treatments for Trauma-Based Nightmares
PSYCHIATRIC TIMES
September 13, 2018 

From the article: “Either idiopathic or trauma-based, nightmares have an adverse effect on sleep continuity and efficiency. However, trauma-based nightmares are more frequent, are more intense, and they can persist throughout the lifespan. As might be expected, patients with PTSD have the highest incidence of trauma-based nightmares. Although nightmares are included in the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD, they often persist even after first-line PTSD treatments have been successfully concluded.

Takeaway: This article provides a clinical approach to addressing PTSD-related nightmare disorders. While we, as sleep techs, aren't within our scope of practice to provide treatment for these, we should still be aware of what they are and potential therapies for them. 

INDUSTRY WATCH

CMS releases a future effective article affecting Jurisdictions J and M
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE
September 7, 2018

From the website: “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a future effective article regarding the local coverage determination (LCD) policy for polysomnography (L36593) that affects Medicare contractor Palmetto GBA for Medicare Jurisdictions J and M.  This article revises the date that sleep centers must obtain accreditation to July 1, 2018, in order to continue to render services to Medicare beneficiaries and submit claims to Palmetto GBA. …In addition, outpatient sleep centers affiliated with a hospital that is currently accredited through the hospital’s accreditation will now be required to obtain separate ambulatory care accreditation for the sleep center. This accreditation must be obtained by Oct. 1, 2018.

Takeaway: If you work in Jurisdictions J and M, heads up.

TREND WATCH

RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. Secures Clinical and Commercial Supply of Dronabinol for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with the Signing of a Development and Supply Agreement with Noramco, Inc.
GLOBE NEWS WIRE
September 10, 2018

From the press release: “RespireRx is developing dronabinol, a synthetic derivative of a naturally occurring substance in the cannabis plant, for the treatment of OSA, a serious respiratory disorder that impacts an estimated 29.4 million people in the United States according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), published in August 2016. OSA has been linked to increased risk for hypertension, heart failure, depression, and diabetes, and has an annual economic cost in the United States of approximately $162 billion according to the AASM. There are no approved drug treatments for OSA.”

Takeaway: You can learn more about the potential for using dronabinol to treat OSA in last May's AAST Journal Club (log in here to enter the AAST Learning Center and access the Journal Club). 

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

New Apple Watch adds FDA-cleared ECG application
MEDTECH DIVE
September 12, 2018

From the blog: “While the ECG App is a splash, Apple has signaled interest in other areas, such as detection of conditions like sleep apnea. Last year Apple bought sleep tracker startup Beddit, which develops products that can relay heartbeat and breathing rhythm data.”

Takeaway: Consumer sleep technology purveyors are still working hard to find ways to use their wearables to detect respiratory events.  

PHARMA WATCH

Slow-Release Morphine May Be Safe for Some OSA Patients
MEDSCAPE
September 14, 2018

From the blog: “'Slow-release morphine did not worsen the OSA of the men in our study. For most of the men, there were no differences in breathing during sleep whether they received oral 40-mg slow-release morphine or placebo,' said Dr. David Wang of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, Australia. …'Our study also identified potential clinical phenotypes and genotypes that could predict how opioids may affect breathing during sleep,' he told Reuters Health by email. Dr. Wang and his colleagues enrolled 60 adult males with untreated OSA in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial at one academic sleep laboratory.” 

Takeaway: It's clear more research is needed, but if larger-scale studies show this to be true, this will be a big switch from current conventional wisdom.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

Being a mom doesn’t make you a medical professional
KEVIN MD
September 17, 2018

From the editorial:  “It appears that anyone with access to Google, WebMD or, sometimes, even a quick PubMed search, believes they can be a doctor. …If the parent is truly lucky, they may receive a helpful response such as: “Go to your pediatrician and stop taking medical advice from the internet.” But let’s be honest, these comments are a rare find.” 

Takeaway: From a discussion about parenting, but this could also be true for people going to social media or the Internet for advice on sleep apnea. 

LEGAL WATCH

Although we’re running low on doctors, the solution may not be more doctors
STAT NEWS
September 12, 2018

From the article: “Scope of practice laws fall into three categories: full practice, reduced practice, and restricted practice.

Takeaway: You never know. This discussion about utilizing nurse practitioners through an expansion of their scope of practice could influence some efforts to help broaden the scope of practice for specialists like sleep technologists who might, for instance, serve in physician extender roles for those doctors in need of followup support for insomnia patients. This is an interesting trend and could open wide current opportunities for sleep technologists who are bumping their heads against the scope of practice ceiling. Stay tuned.


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.