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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on March 19th, 2019

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: March 19, 2019

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.



STOP SAYING BURNOUT: It’s Not Burnout, It’s Moral Injury
March 8, 2019

From the podcast transcript: Why do you think they call healthcare workers that are actually touching patients, 'frontline healthcare workers?' Where does that come from? The front lines of war. We use the language of war when we’re taking care of patients. And we suffer the wounds of war, the moral injury, the PTSD of not being able to live up to our ideals. So the call to action is this. We, we on the 'front lines,' need to stand up to our leaders, and demand that they lead. That they recognize that moral injury is something that needs to be taken into account.

Takeaway: The man does have a point.


The Presence of Snoring as Well as its Intensity Is Underreported by Women
March 15, 2019

From the study: Measurement of the volume of snoring revealed that women snored as loudly as men; however, 28% of the females (189/675) considered themselves to be nonsnorers compared to only 6.9% of men (P < .05). Furthermore, 36.5% of women (69/189) who reported themselves as nonsnorers turned out to have severe or very severe snoring intensity, whereas, in contrast, only 11.7% of men (10/85) of men had this discrepancy. These findings are in concordance with the finding that fewer women quantified their snoring as very severe or severe (38.4%), significantly less than men of whom 61.5% reported their snoring to be severe or very severe.” 

Takeaway: Yes, we've all experienced the male patient who is forced into a sleep study by their nagging wife because of his snoring, but let's face it—snoring, especially when it's loud, is an equal opportunity annoyance.


5 Questions About Sleep Telemedicine
March 18, 2019

From the article: “Telemedicine is a great way to see many patients in disperse locations over a short period of time. For sleep medicine specifically, it allows providers to check in with patients between sleep studies to ensure their regimen is working. …At Sleep Medicine Trends 2019, Barry G Fields, MD, MSEd—who is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a sleep physician at the Atlanta VA Medical Center—gave attendees an update about sleep telemedicine in 2019. Here are his answers to our burning questions.

Takeaway: Has telemedicine moved from conversation to action in your hospital or clinic system? Share your experience in the comments.


A Genetic Basis for Insomnia Emerges from the Twilight
March 12, 2019

From the article: “[T]wo studies published Monday in Nature Genetics provide first peeks at the biological basis of insomnia, implicating specific brain regions and biological processes, and revealing links with heart disease and psychiatric disorders like depression. Both are genome-wide association studies (GWASs), which examine DNA from many thousands of individuals to determine where genetic markers related to health, disease or a particular trait reside.” 

Takeaway: Genetics research may finally show biological underpinnings for sleeplessness which could clarify its root causes. Insomniacs everywhere may find relief knowing it's not just in their heads.”  


Light Therapy Devices Comparison Guide (March 2019)
March 7, 2019

From the review: Sleep Review‘s matrix compares features such as price, warranty, weight, dimensions, housing body material, power, watts used, temperature, light source, light color, light bandwidth, lifetime of lamps, color rendering index, intensity, suggested treatment range, and features (UV-free, portable, dimmable, diffuser screen, wide treatment field, treatment reminder alarm, treatment timer, on/off button, pause function, built-in clock).

Takeaway: Not only might these be useful for your patients, but you might consider using light therapy for your own sleep problems. 


Should Sleep Specialists Prescribe Opioids for Restless Legs Syndrome?
March 11, 2019

From the article:A professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a leader in the study of the mechanisms behind the condition, [John] Winkelman, MD, PhD, has made enormous contributions to the medical field over the last few decades. He’s investigated treatment options for patients with kidney failure and RLS. He observed how limb movements during sleep can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which could have cardiovascular implications for people with RLS. Now, in light of studies linking RLS augmentation with dopamine agonist therapy, he is looking at opioid therapies.” 

Takeaway: It's a tough call, and probably depends on a variety of factors, such as a patient's sleep breathing status, history of substance use and abuse, or other factors. Given the current "war on opioids," Winkelman has a rough journey ahead convincing the medical establishment otherwise.


"Sleep Works For You" High School Video Contest
March 14, 2019

From the announcement: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has selected two winning entries in the 2019 Sleep Works for You High School Video Contest. Now it’s your turn to pick the third winner—the People’s Choice recipient! Watch the 5 videos below and vote for your favorite. You can vote one time per day per email address. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. ” 

Takeaway: The kids are alright!


Providers hope for Stark overhaul to boost value-based payment
March 9, 2019

From the article: The Stark law is particularly dreaded because the federal government can go after providers for unintentional violations, including documentation errors, in their financial relationships with physicians who make referrals for designated health services. In addition, whistleblowers can sue providers for alleged Stark violations under the False Claims Act, which carries potential treble damages and other penalties. …The CMS is working on an update, to be issued later this year, that would, among other things, clarify the regulatory definition of the Stark law’s ban on paying physicians for the volume or value of referrals, [CMS Administrator Seema] Verma said last week during a speech to the Federation of American Hospitals. ” 

Takeaway: This could have a huge impact on the way sleep clinics operate. 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.