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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on March 3rd, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: March 3, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping porcupine 2

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


ADVOCACY WATCH

The Connection Between Cancer and Sleep Apnea
DOCTOR STEVEN PARK
February 26, 2020

From the podcast: In this episode, Kathy and I discuss the importance of good sleep as it relates to cancer. This is an important topic that everyone needs to hear if you want to significantly lower your risk of cancer.

Takeaway: Shift workers need to be especially vigilant about screenings and managing circadian disruption, weight and their own sleep-breathing issues.  

CULTURE WATCH

Workplace bullying and sleep—A systematic review and meta-analysis of the research literature
SLEEP MEDICINE REVIEWS
February 25, 2020

From the research study: “Although the causes of sleep problems are complex and multifactorial, previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses have established psychosocial stress at the workplace as an important precursor. Work related stress has in fact been reported as the most frequent self-reported cause of sleep problems and sufferers often attribute their sleeping problem to different work related factors. Thus, identifying and preventing work-related precursors of sleep problems are therefore highly important with regard to reducing sleep related costs for individuals, employers, and society.

Takeaway: Seems obvious to everyone except employers!

TREND WATCH

Is Alzheimer’s Disease Actually a Sleep Disorder?
PSYCHOLOGY TODAY
February 25, 2020

From the column: “[UC Berkeley research] results showed that Alzheimer’s patients with the worst memory performance were also the ones with (1) the greatest accumulation of amyloid plaque in the mid-frontal lobe and (2) the greatest decline in non-REM sleep. This finding is important because it suggests poor quality sleep may be the missing link that connects amyloid buildup to memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients. Plaque buildup in the mid-frontal lobe causes less non-REM sleep, and less non-REM sleep causes memory impairments. This means that contrary to popular opinion, Alzheimer’s may not have a direct impact on memory. Instead, Alzheimer’s may indirectly impact memory via sleep.

Takeaway: I keep finding commentaries that echo this sentiment. It will be interesting to see where this new line of thinking heads.

INDUSTRY WATCH

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Distinguishing Sleep Apnea From Narcolepsy
CLINICAL ADVISOR
February 28, 2020

From the article: “Patient and caregiver education are important for successful diagnosis and management of patients with EDS. When trying to differentiate between OSA and narcolepsy, clinicians should be aware that the odds of EDS being caused by narcolepsy are very low, especially in a patient older than 30 years of age. In most cases, EDS is caused by OSA.

Takeaway: I'm still stuck on the assertion by this writer that some doctors (general practitioners?) are diagnosing narcolepsy without a sleep study…

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Vibratory, auditory stimulation may improve sleep for patients with insomnia
SLEEP DISORDERS via HEALIO
February 25, 2020

From the research summary: “[Dr. Daniel] Monti and colleagues noted the well-known association between vibratory and auditory stimuli from vehicles, including trains and cars, and enhanced sleep. Furthermore, recent research has suggested specific types of vibratory and acoustic stimulation may help promote sleep, although neuroimaging has not been used to test this hypothesis, they wrote. The researchers conducted the current study to examine the impact of vibroacoustic stimulation on functional connectivity changes in the brain among patients with insomnia. Additionally, they sought to determine whether these neural changes were associated with sleep improvements.

Takeaway: It makes sense to pursue this. I also have to wonder how many of these adults with insomnia were driven around in a car on sleepless nights by their parents to get them to fall asleep! 

PHARMA WATCH

Melatonin may ease autistic children’s sleep troubles
SPECTRUM NEWS
February 27, 2020

From the website: “A few small studies have shown that melatonin can improve the quality and duration of sleep for children with autism. But questions remain about the hormone’s long-term safety, particularly in regard to puberty. …Melatonin levels typically drop during puberty, a fact that has raised concerns that taking it could delay or otherwise alter sexual maturation.

Takeaway: The researchers observe an uncommon but legitimate argument for being wary about using melatonin in teens; after all, it is a hormone.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

Thoughts on the Association Between Sleep and Obesity
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
March 2, 2020

From the commentary: “In this issue of Pediatrics, Xiu et al longitudinally followed children 2 to 6 years of age with yearly objective measurements of sleep and adiposity. They found that more frequent late sleep was associated with greater increases in measures of adiposity and that this association was more pronounced in children of parents with overweight or obesity.

Takeaway: Genetics and lifestyle (nature and nurture) suggest things we can and cannot control. This is where common sense needs to be the rule of the day. More exercise, healthier eating habits, and a consistent sleep schedule are the three pillars of good health for a reason.

LEGAL WATCH

Over a third of lawyers are sleep deprived, research finds
LEGAL CHEEK
February 25, 2020

From the article: “Last summer appeal judges overturned an employment tribunal verdict after finding that the judge at the original hearing had 'fell fully asleep not once but twice' while the claimant was being cross-examined.

Takeaway: I mention a fictitious lawyer's microsleeps and inevitable drowsy driving accident in this month's Journal Club, but the judge mentioned in this piece fell "fully asleep"? I would not want to be the plaintiff or the defendant in that situation! 


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.