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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on January 7th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: January 7, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping camel 2



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


Year in Review
December 30, 2019

From the blog post: “As we look towards 2020, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of what we’ve been up to in 2019. We couldn’t have done it without your support!  We look forward to how we can better serve the narcolepsy community in the future.

Takeaway: These folks definitely get the message out, judging by their year-end roundup of activities. Kudos to the NN for all the good work they do to raise awareness of, raise funds to spur research for, and provide support for people with narcolepsy.


Semistructured Motivational Interviews of Patients and Caregivers to Improve CPAP Adherence: A Qualitative Analysis
December 15, 2019

From the research study: “Our findings suggest that patients’ and caregivers’ positive experiences of PAP could be enhanced by a patient-centered interaction and that it was important to explicitly address their fears and concerns to further enhance use of PAP. Not only could caregiver support play a role in improving PAP adherence but also the peer coaching session has the potential of providing a socially supportive environment in motivating adherence to PAP treatment.

Takeaway: In other words, a more humane, patient-facing relationship that takes into account health literacy (or lack of), emotional decision making, and other kinds of obstacles, including cultural ones, could potential enhance the whole process of transitioning newly diagnosed OSA patients to PAP therapy. I say, why not give it a try? Patients and healthcare professionals are still people first.


Anesthesiologists Play Critical Role in Identifying Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea
December 19, 2019

From the article: “The preoperative anesthesia consultation represents the first opportunity to identify undiagnosed apnea. A history of snoring and intermittent episodes of stopping to breathe at night should be elicited from the patient’s spouse or other housemates. Daytime somnolence and episodes of narcolepsy, like falling asleep while talking to somebody or while driving a vehicle, further raise the suspicion. Age greater than 50 years, a large neck circumference, and male gender also are associated with higher risk (Chung, Abdullah, & Liao, 2016). …Importantly, sleep apnea can also occur in the absence of obesity when patients have a sleep apnea phenotype with an upper airway anatomy that predisposes them to airway obstruction (Holt et al., 2019).

Takeaway: Frankly, I think the relationship between obesity and undiagnosed sleep apnea is underappreciated and am grateful for surgeons with anesthesiologists who are poised to make these recommendations. If doing an OSA screening isn't already part of a surgeon's safety protocol for their patients (obese or not), it should be. 


The BRPT Poised for Growth in 2020
December 18, 2019

From the website: “Effective December 2019, the BRPT will no longer use the services of an association management company (AMC). 'We’re thrilled to have grown and reached a point where we no longer need the infrastructure of an AMC,' said BRPT President Jessica Schmidt, MA, FACHE, RPSGT, CCSH. 'Our Board of Directors conducted an extensive analysis of the organization and its operating costs and determined the use of outside management services were unnecessary.' The Board also voted to elevate its Executive Director, Jim Magruder, to Chief Executive Officer.

Takeaway: Good luck and best wishes to the BRPT in 2020.


Aarhus University opens the world's first center for ear-EEG
December 19, 2019

From the article: “Danish researchers are world leaders in brain measurement via a special device fitted in the ear like a hearing aid. The technology is called ear-EEG, and now Aarhus University has received a grant to ensure further development of the method.

Takeaway: This is a promising new tool for sleep medicine researchers. Could it replace the current 10-20 hookup for sleep technologists? I'm not sure about that, but it's fascinating to ponder a future streamlined testing protocol for polysomnographers. 


Health Canada warns that modafinil may cause fetal harm
December 23, 2019

From the article: “Based on these findings, Health Canada updated the Canadian Product Monograph (CPM) to include a contraindication to the use of modafinil in pregnancy. Health Canada recommends that women who are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, must not use modafinil.

Takeaway: The AASM has reached out to the FDA to see how they might echo this response to research showing dangerous outcomes to the unborn in pregnant users. 


Air Force Studies Sleep to Enhance Readiness
January 2, 2020

From the article: “A team of human performance experts is looking at sleep and fatigue from several perspectives. They are tracking sleep habits in pilots and other operators, while also evaluating sleep-monitoring technology to ensure its accuracy and ability to work in an operational setting.

Takeaway: This has been a long time coming. I'd be curious about any links between chronic sleep deprivation while serving and the eventual development of PTSD during and after the completion of one's orders, even when they've seen no combat action. I'd also be curious to see if the armed forces are still using certain "performance" nootropic drugs to keep military service personnel awake while on duty. 


Opinion: Should It Be Illegal To Sleep Outside?
December 14, 2019

From the commentary: “A new report says more and more American cities are passing laws that make it illegal to sleep outside, on the street, in a park or in your own car.

Takeaway: There's got to be a better, more humane, way to preserve the human and civil rights of our fellow human beings to get adequate sleep, even when homeless.   

BIO:  AAST blog columnist 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 sleep-related columns for two chronic illness patient advocacy publishers, and contributes the Journal Club continued education presentations for the AAST. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.