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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on June 23rd, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: June 23, 2020

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.


For the latest information, please check the following resources :


Research delves into causes of nightmares that shadow female survivors of sexual trauma
June 15, 2020

From the website: “It's been estimated that up to 88% of survivors of rape or molestation suffer from persistent nightmares that can occur multiple times per week, seemingly at random. …A new study from psychologists at the University of Kansas just published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress attempts to shed light on triggers of post-trauma nightmare occurrences—a topic that has received scant study.

Takeaway: Here's an important topic to raise awareness about through the lens of sleep medicine.


Male domestic abuse focus: 'My abusive wife sleep deprived me'
June 22, 2020

From the article: “The abusive relationship also resulted in a diagnosis of acute sleep deprivation for John. She would wake him up claiming he had stopped breathing. 'I smelt a rat, because sometimes she did it when I was still awake, but very still and relaxed. At her insistence I went to my GP and it was clear I did not suffer from sleep apnoea.'

Takeaway: Sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture for a reason. This is an eye-opening story that might reshape your thoughts on what domestic abuse victims look like and how sleep deprivation can be a strategy for harming others.


How “Slow Waves” Flow Between Brain Hemispheres During Sleep
June 18, 2020

From the column: “In split-brain patients, the researchers found that sleep slow waves stayed in their brain hemisphere of origin and remained confined to either the left or right cerebral hemisphere during NREM deep sleep. 'Our findings clearly indicate that sleep slow waves propagate through anatomical pathways connecting the origin site to distant brain areas,' first author Giulia Avvenuti said in a news release.

Takeaway: As someone with a neurological disorder (MS), I find this really fascinating. The corpus callosum does all the heavy lifting for CNS processing in people with MS and certain other kinds of demyelinating diseases. It's also a given that these populations have poor sleep. This might be a better way to connect the dots in understanding (and treating) the sleep problems of people with neurological disorders.


William C. Dement, MD, PhD, Father of Sleep Medicine, Dies
June 18, 2020

From the article: “Editor’s Note: If you’d like to share your memories and photos of Bill Dement for possible publication, email them to sroy[at]medqor.com. We expect to add to this online memorial over the next 2 weeks, as well as publish selections from it in Sleep Review’s August/September issue.

Takeaway: I hope those of you with memories to share about Dr. Dement will help out Sree at SR, that will be a wonderful tribute edition, I'm sure.


Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. Announces Cigna Coverage for Inspire Therapy for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

June 16, 2020

From the press release: “Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: INSP) ('Inspire'), a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative and minimally invasive solutions for patients with obstructive sleep apnea ('OSA'), announced today that Cigna, one of the leading health plans in the United States, will provide coverage for the Company’s Inspire therapy, effective June 15, 2020.

Takeaway: One more roadblock to this therapy is now removed. 


Some anxiety, insomnia drugs raise risk of ectopic pregnancy
June 17, 2020

From the article: “Taking benzodiazepines—drugs such as Xanax or Valium—within 90 days before conception raises the risk of a life-threatening condition known as ectopic pregnancy by 47%, according to an investigation led by Stanford postdoctoral researcher Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, PhD. The study was published this month in Human Reproduction.

Takeaway: This is terribly concerning. 


There’s No Hack For Better Sleep; Honestly, You Just Need a New Pillow
June 19, 2020

From the article: “Pillows have seen some major progress in the past decade. While old pillows would become a pancake in a few weeks, the best new pillows feature advanced supportive fillings that use memory foam and anti-clumping technology. Pillow covers have also been updated for a softer feel and with the ability to stay cool through the night. These updates can have a big impact on how you feel during the day, by helping neck issues and allowing you to get more effective sleep—even if you can’t get in the recommended seven hours.

Takeaway: This is decidedly "old school"… and I admit, they're not wrong. 


BCBS Sues Over Narcolepsy Drug Prices Paid by Federal Workers
June 17, 2020

From the article snip: “Blue Cross Blue Shield Association sued five top pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the Federal Employee Health Benefits program Wednesday, claiming in Chicago federal court that they conspired to overcharge for the narcolepsy drug Xyrem by delaying generic versions of it.

Takeaway: I can't find a link to this story that doesn't require a paywall but promise to keep my eyes open. 

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.