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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH on September 15th, 2020

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: September 15, 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.


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ADVOCACY WATCH

Limiting racial disparities and bias for wearable devices in health science research
SLEEP
September 7, 2020

From the editorial: “We note with deep concern that there is increasing evidence that these devices are not as accurate, and may not work at all, in people with darker skin tones.

Takeaway: Looks like consumer sleep technology has some work to do in the arena of health equity.

CULTURE WATCH

Wayzata teen invents 'sleep calculator' to help you find your REM zone
KARE
September 3, 2020

From the article: “The Wayzata High School student, who has been doing web development since he was 11, decided to build a sleep calculator. It's simple: You punch in the time you want to get up, and it tells you when to go to bed so that you don't wake up in the middle of a 90-minute REM cycle. …Josh posted his calculator on a few developer forums, then on Reddit, and saw that it was getting a lot of upvotes. At one point a couple weeks ago, Josh woke up in the morning and saw his website had nearly 10,000 hits.

Takeaway: Gotta love this!

TREND WATCH

Effect of Multilevel Upper Airway Surgery vs Medical Management on the Apnea-Hypopnea Index and Patient-Reported Daytime Sleepiness Among Patients With Moderate or Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The SAMS Randomized Clinical Trial
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
September 4, 2020

From the research study summary: “In this preliminary study of adults with moderate or severe OSA who failed conventional treatment, combined palatal and tongue surgery improved patient-reported sleepiness and polysomnographic measures of OSA severity at 6 months, although further research is needed to confirm these findings in additional populations and to evaluate the safety, clinical utility, and long-term efficacy of multilevel upper airway surgery for treatment of individuals with OSA.

Takeaway: With still so many people unable to tolerate CPAP, surgery as a solution continues to be an option sleep medicine researchers consider.  

INDUSTRY WATCH

Support for the sleep field in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE
September 3, 2020

From the website: “AASM members and AASM-accredited member sleep facilities that need assistance in the aftermath of this storm should contact the AASM Foundation at foundation@aasm.org with any questions.

Takeaway: No word yet on assistance for labs needing support in the aftermath of western wildfire evacuations, but I did reach out to the AASM today and will share that information once it becomes available. 

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Compare 18 Home Sleep Testing (HST) Devices
SLEEP REVIEW
August 31, 2020

From the review: “Compare 18 home sleep testing devices from Advanced Brain Monitoring, BRAEBON, Cadwell, CleveMed, Compumedics, General Sleep, Itamar Medical, Natus, Nihon Kohden, Nox Medical, Philips Respironics, ResMed, SleepMed, SleepVirtual, SOMNOmedics, and Zephyr Sleep Technologies.

Takeaway: Many thanks to Sleep Review for putting together these annual product reviews.

PHARMA WATCH

Narcolepsy Drug Improves On-Road Vehicle Control — Highway tests show less weaving with dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
MEDPAGE TODAY
September 14, 2020

From the article: “Solriamfetol (Sunosi) significantly improved driving performance for patients with narcolepsy and daytime sleepiness due to obstructive sleep apnea, according to a pair of on-road driving studies sponsored by the drugmaker.

Takeaway: This is an interesting development and makes me curious what the end goal for these studies might be. 

WAKEFULNESS WATCH

A pilot study investigating the impact of a caffeine-nap on alertness during a simulated night shift
CHRONOBIOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
August 2O, 2020

From the article: “Consuming coffee immediately prior to a nap, known as a caffeine-nap, has been shown to improve alertness during the day, but it is unknown whether a caffeine-nap is effective at reducing sleep inertia during the night. A simulated shiftwork cross-over laboratory study was conducted whereby participants (N = 6, 4 F, 21–36y) consumed 200 mg of caffeine, or decaffeinated coffee (placebo), immediately prior to a 30 min nap opportunity at 03:30 h.

Takeaway: Yes, believe it or not, some shift workers are allowed to nap while on the job. 

REGULATORY WATCH

Prior Authorization Requirement for Itamar’s WatchPAT™ Home Sleep Apnea Test Removed for all Independence Blue Cross Members
ITAMAR MEDICAL
August 31, 2020

From the press release: “Itamar Medical Ltd., a medical technology and digital health company focused on the development and commercialization of non-invasive medical solutions to aid in the diagnosis of respiratory sleep disorders, today announced that effective July 2020, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) has removed their prior authorization requirement for home sleep apnea tests (HSAT) following an extensive dialog that included presentation of evidence. All membership approaching five million members across 27 states has been impacted within the Family of Companies, which includes Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth New Jersey, Independence Administrators, and AmeriHealth Administrators.

Takeaway: One less obstacle to care is a win-win for both sleep technologists and their patients.


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 multiple chronic illness patient advocacy publishers and apps, and contributes 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.