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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on November 24th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 24, 2020

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

sleeping turkey with blue eye

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

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ADVOCACY WATCH

Differences in Hypersomnia Disorder Symptoms Among African Americans
HYPERSOMNIA FOUNDATION
November 17, 2020

From the article: “Do people of different races/ethnicities experience the same hypersomnia symptoms? This is still an open question, but one study found that African Americans with narcolepsy are less likely to have cataplexy, even when hypocretin levels are low.

Takeaway: More research that prioritizes data for nonwhite groups is overdue and necessary for scientists to fully understand sleep disorders.  

CULTURE WATCH

Sleep disorders in healthcare professionals linked to higher odds of burnout
HEALTH LEADERS MEDIA
November 17, 2020

From the article: “In recent research, healthcare professionals with sleep disorders were nearly four times as likely to suffer burnout than staff members without sleep disorders.

Takeaway: Maybe it's time sleep centers associated with hospitals and other specialty medical practitioners started to look internally for patients. It's a win-win for all involved. 

TREND WATCH

All Health Is Not Created Equal: Where You Live Matters
NATIONAL CENTER FOR COMPLEMENTARY AND INTEGRATIVE HEALTH
November 9, 2020

From the EventBrite registration page: “In her presentation, Dr. Shannon Zenk will explore the science behind social determinants of health and demonstrate how vital effective integrative or multilevel approaches are when addressing health and health inequities. Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, and otherwise spend their time. They affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Dr. Zenk will share how to better understand what affects people’s health and drives health disparities, and ultimately how to develop effective interventions to improve the public’s health and eliminate inequities.

Takeaway: This should be a great (and free!) event for people in the sleep field who are interested in furthering their knowledge of the trending topic of social determinants of health. Sign up for the event now, which takes place online on December 9 from 9-10am. 

INDUSTRY WATCH

AADSM: Dentists Can Order Home Sleep Tests
SLEEP REVIEW
November 18, 2020

From the article: “The AADSM position doesn’t cut sleep physicians out of the continuum of care, noting that data from home sleep tests should be 'interpreted by a licensed medical provider for initial diagnosis and verification of treatment efficacy.'

Takeaway: What do you think? Is this language too vague? That's the controversy.

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Tech Northwell Health research arm develops AI tool to help hospital patients avoid sleepless nights
FIERCE HEALTHCARE
November 17, 2020

From the article: “The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, a division of the Northwell Health system, has developed an artificial intelligence tool to gauge when hospitalized patients need to be woken up during the night. …By letting patients sleep, the health system can speed up patients’ recovery and discharge them faster. It can also help avoid causing delirium in patients, noted Theodoros Zanos, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine. …'It actually is a critical piece of a person getting better in the hospital,' Zanos told Fierce Healthcare. 'We know that sleep disruption can essentially slow down recovery.'

Takeaway: What a great idea!!  

PHARMA WATCH

Narcolepsy Market Assessment: Once-Nightly Sodium Oxybate May Appeal to More Patients Than Just Those on Twice-Nightly Dosing
SLEEP REVIEW
November 23, 2020

From Avadel CEO, Greg Divis: “We recently gained even greater insight into this evolving therapeutic area including the significant and growing opportunity for FT218. Specifically, we completed a comprehensive market assessment, which provided current and critical prescriber and patient insights. A key finding is that 6 out of 10 sodium oxybate-eligible patients are not going on therapy today, with twice-nightly dosing being the primary reason cited. This finding suggests there could be a significantly larger potential sodium oxybate-eligible market beyond those currently being treated with twice-nightly therapy.

Takeaway: If you had to awaken in the middle of the night to take a second dose of medication, and you know there was a once-nightly option also available, which would you choose? 

NEW SECTION!
COMORBID WATCH 

Study explores sleep apnea, autoimmune disease link
UGA TODAY
November 17, 2020

From the article: “The study, led by Bradley Phillips [director of UGA’s Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute], builds on previous research showing that obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for autoimmune diseases. Immune system disorders are a result of either low activity or over activity of the immune system and include well known conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Takeaway: All the more reason we need to be catching hidden cases of sleep apnea in both pediatric and adult patients. 

SLEEP HYGIENE WATCH

Smoke at night and sleep worse? The associations between cigarette smoking with insomnia severity and sleep duration
SLEEP HEALTH JOURNAL
November 18, 2020

From the article: “Insomnia is a clinically verified nicotine withdrawal symptom. As nicotine is a stimulant, it is plausible that smoking at night could disturb sleep more than smoking at earlier times of the day, but this remains empirically unclear. This study examined smoking status and its associations with insomnia severity and sleep duration while considering the potential role of smoking time.

Takeaway: This is great information, but I do wonder if prescribing a lifestyle change like smoking cessation would help. Like prescribing weight loss, it seems unlikely to happen among the majority of patients. Or maybe it's just me who thinks that people aren't going to quit smoking because of sleep issues? 

CRIME WATCH

True Crime Arizona: The sleepwalking murderer
ARIZONA FAMILY
November 13, 2020

From the article: “It was the murder that stunned Phoenix in 1997 and a trial two years later that would gain international attention. A devout Mormon man stabbed his wife more than 40 times, then dragged her in the pool, claiming he did the entire thing while sleepwalking and remembered none of it.

Takeaway:  Raise your hand if you think this story should be produced as a documentary.


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 chronic illness patient advocacy publishers, and produces the Journal Club continued education presentations for the AAST. You might occasionally see her work in A2Zzz as well. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.