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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on December 5th, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: December 5, 2017

Sleep Technologist Advice

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


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



New Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ Abstracts Suggest Circadian Components of Major Depressive Disorder
December 1, 2017 

From the article:Vanda Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of Hetlioz (tasimelteon), which became available in 2014 for the circadian sleep disorder Non-24, released a series of abstracts at World Sleep 2017. The abstracts offer preliminary insights into circadian aspects of linked disorders and hint at potential future uses of the circadian regulator drug.

Takeaway:  This is fascinating, considering how seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is considered both a mood disorder and a sleep disorder. 


Neuroscientists Uncover Sleep Timing Secrets
November 29, 2017

From the article: “We've learned more about how sleep is controlled and why so many get too little.

Takeaway: If it's been awhile since you've studied the circadian system (or if you never studied it), here's a great way to catch up on the latest research, thanks to neuroscience.


Stop Being Exhausted. New Innovations for More Restful Sleep
November 28, 2017 

From Dr. David Sadaat: “Let’s talk about three [breakthrough treatments]: Inspire therapy’s hypoglossal nerve stimulation, the Latera nasal valve implant and drug-induced sleep endoscopy.

Takeaway: Keep in mind, Dr. Sadaat is not only a sleep specialist, but also an ENT and reconstructive surgeon. His interests in therapies more invasive than CPAP are informed by his specialty. It's important for sleep techs to keep abreast of solutions coming from sleep specialists who aren't directly aligned with pulmonology. 


Accessory Optimizes Nasal Breathing for CPAP Users and Deviated-Septum Sufferers (PHO-2419)
December 4, 2017 

From the press release: “An inventor from Glendale, Ariz., uses a CPAP machine at night, and his nostrils close up at night, which impedes his breathing and defeats the purpose of the CPAP. Concerned about the deadly consequences of this, he came up with and created a prototype of the INTERNAL NOSE SLEEVE [sic].

Takeaway: This is an interesting solution, but will it work for people already unhappy about using CPAP? It makes sense to combine a solution for deviated septum into a PAP mask, but comfort must be a factor in the success of this new prototype.


Synthetic cannabis-like drug reduces sleep apnea
November 28, 2017

From the article: Researchers investigated the effect of dronabinol, a synthetic version of the molecule Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is in cannabis, on sleep apnea in a Phase 2 trial. The trial was the largest and longest randomized, controlled trial to test a drug treatment for sleep apnea.

Takeaway: If patients ask, please make sure they understand: Dronabinol is a synthetic derivative of cannabis and is not something that a patient can access simply by consuming marijuana in forms available through a dispensary. 


Apple Watch Plus AI 90% Accurate in Diagnosing Sleep Apnea: Study
December 1, 2017

From the blog: “We’ve been talking before about how wearable tech can be used to potentially spot people’s risk for sleep apnea, but it seems that the technological progress is amazingly fast, outstripping our ability to really understand how it works. …Those are some of the insights coming from a large study showing that Apple Watch data fed into an AI known as DeepHeart could predict sleep apnea with an up to 90% accuracy using just one week’s worth of data, a figure that researchers say is only improving.” 

Takeaway: This is an intriguing discussion. As the technology develops, it seems to be working, but researchers don't seem to know why. A good dose of skepticism is important here: until we can ascertain how an algorithm works, we can't be certain that the technology is actually doing what we want it to. Better to solve the mystery rather than bank on what might ultimately be a fluke.


New Mom Falls Asleep Breastfeeding Newborn Baby, Wakes Up To Disturbing Sight
November 29, 2017

From the article: An Oregon mother who accidentally smothered her baby to death is suing the hospital for more than $8 million. …Baby Jacob died after hospital workers put the baby in Monica Thompson's arms while she was under the influence of strong pain medications, reports The Oregonian.

Takeaway: Should maternity ward nurses know that combining Ambien and Vicodin for a new mother recovering from C-section puts both her and her baby at risk for what happened in this situation? 

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.