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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on December 12th, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: December 12, 2017

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.



Editor’s Message: Nobel Prize Cachet Also Gives Sleep the Time of Day
December 5, 2017 

From the editorial:The science of circadian rhythms touches many subspecialties of medicine but perhaps none so inextricably as sleep. So when the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was bestowed upon 3 researchers for identifying key mechanistic principles for the biological clock, advocates for the importance of sleep—seeing firsthand how sleep is often overlooked, especially in today’s fear-of-missing-out culture—celebrated the significance of the prestigious international recognition.

Takeaway:  If you have patients who are struggling with sleep due to lifestyle choices, you might want to keep a brief script about the purpose and value of circadian rhythms in your back pocket so they can better understand how better sleep hygiene can help them solve some of their problems.


Dirty equipment? Our guide to cleaning and maintaining your CPAP machine
December 5, 2017

From the blog: “One of the most important parts of your therapy is often an overlooked or forgotten task: the cleaning of your equipment.

Takeaway: Maybe you have a DME or daytime sleep tech to go over the rudiments of cleaning, maintenance and replenishment of CPAP equipment. But if you don't, this blog post is a solid source of information that can easily be shared as a take-home guide for patients new to CPAP. PS: If you don't use CPAP yourself, you may not fully understand some of the reasons why people don't always keep their equipment in tip-top condition. This discussion between your lab and each and every new CPAP user should include not only guidance for "how to," but also "why."


Sleep duration, sleep quality, and sexual orientation: findings from the 2013-2015 National Health Interview Survey
December 4, 2017 

From the survey: “One path for future research is examining whether differing sleep quality for these groups is associated with differing adverse health outcomes and health behaviors. For example, previous work has found gay men and women to be more likely to report severe psychological distress and moderate smoking, and bisexual women more likely to report severe psychological distress and moderate or current smoking compared with their straight counterparts, and both distress and smoking have been found to be associated with poor sleep quality.

Takeaway: Who says gender identity doesn't alter a person sleep quality and health behaviors?


Many digital health solutions lack evidence: How physicians can help
December 10, 2017 

From the blog: “Digital health is a new and evolving sector. Already, it has created new, valuable tools for improving patient outcomes while decreasing overall costs. But to fully support this emerging field, we need to work together to help lower the barrier for clinical studies—allowing us to get the evidence needed to demonstrate efficacy and safety for all patients. If we, as physicians, are willing to support emerging opportunities in digital health and share clinical study opportunities with our patients, we can help digital health companies generate evidence of efficacy. We can help validate the best tools out there and influence the evolution of health care in the digital age. We can’t afford not to.

Takeaway: Physicians shouldn't be the only ones pushing these study opportunities. As sleep techs, our "hands on" time with patients far exceeds any opportunities with other healthcare providers. Even a simple suggestion for joining a digital clinical sleep study as part of your morning discharge can be an effective and easy way to facilitate the union between digital sleep data researchers and qualifying patients.


Bioelectronic medicine is a fast growing alternative to drugs
December 6, 2017

From the article: “To treat central sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that can cause everything from poor sleep to congestive heart failure, Respicardia’s Remede implant prompts the phrenic nerve, which runs from the neck down through the lungs, to contract the diaphragm and keep a person breathing regularly.

Takeaway: For that patient population that doesn't want to take drugs to fix their problems, and who might not do well with PAP therapy, these new neurostimulating approaches may be just the ticket.


Seventh Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services
December 9, 2017

From the report: “In this annual report, the USPSTF identified evidence gaps related to five recent topics for which the current evidence was insufficient for the Task Force to make a recommendation, including screening for celiac disease and screening for obstructive sleep apnea.” 

Takeaway:  The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine.  Their goal is to make recommendations that benefit the health of all Americans. If they are suggesting OSA screening for adults, we should be jumping for joy. Their recommendations may influence CMS/Medicare decisions down the line in a way that is positive for sleep labs nationwide.


Trump Administration’s Push to Roll Back Truck Safety Rules Will Cost People Their Lives
December 5, 2017

From the blog: “A set of truck safety regulations approved during the Obama administration are primed to take effect soon. Drowsy driving has been identified as one of the top causes of fatal collisions, and these reforms are aimed at reducing the number of collisions related to fatigue. They include precautions like limiting drivers to no more than 11 hours behind the wheel in any 14-hour period and mandating electronic monitoring of hours driven, instead of paper logs that were easily falsified.

Takeaway: Are you looking for an important sleep-related cause to rally around in 2018? This one needs more activist support.

BIO:  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 MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz. She can be reached at sleepyheadcentral@gmail.com.