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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on February 27th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: February 27, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

 sleeping elk

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



Today: Please Ask Your Representative to Co-Sign Narcolepsy Research Letter
February 20, 2018 (deadline to participate: Friday March 2, 2018)

From the announcement: This letter will encourage NIH to support the full spectrum of narcolepsy research and in responding, NIH will provide Congress and community advocates with a clear overview of recent advancements and emerging opportunities.

Takeaway:  Julie Flygare, narcolepsy advocate, needs your help. If narcolepsy is a pet concern of yours, you may want to help her out by signing the Narcolepsy Research Letter.


Obstructive sleep apnea, COPD, the overlap syndrome, and mortality: results from the 2005–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
February 26, 2018 

From the study: “This study investigated the association of OSA, COPD, and OSA/COPD overlap syndrome with all-cause mortality. The study found that COPD and COPD with OSA overlap syndrome groups had significantly higher likelihood of death due to any cause than the group of subjects without either disease. Although not significant, having OSA/COPD overlap syndrome was associated with higher likelihood of all-cause mortality compared to COPD alone.

Takeaway:  No doubt your lab is seeing the uptick in COPD patients with OSA. Overlap Syndrome is a complex sleep breathing problem that all sleep techs should become well acquainted with in order to best serve this patient population in the sleep lab.


In Memoriam | Professor Serge Daan (1940-2018)
February 12, 2018

From the obituary: “His publications were cited over 15,000 times and include seminal work in chronobiology, sleep research, psychiatry, physiology, ecology and behavioural biology. The ‘Two Process Model’ of human sleep regulation he developed with Alex Borbély and Domien Beersma, still inspires many sleep researchers all over the world.

Takeaway:  You've probably read Dr. Daan's research and writing regarding circadian rhythms and sleep drive while studying for your boards.


How Telemonitoring Improves Timeliness of Care—And Ultimately CPAP Adherence
February 22, 2018

From the article: “A study conducted at Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, published in Sleep Medicine in 2017 specifically focused on links between early CPAP trouble-shooting prompted by telemonitoring versus instructing the standard-of-care patients to call as needed as well as attend a group session in 30 days and scheduled one-on-one doctor visits (the earliest visit being scheduled for 1.5 months after starting CPAP). Sleep lab staff were required to check the telemonitoring group’s CPAP data each Tuesday and Friday and initiate interventions if needed. 'The [telemonitoring] system was the trigger for 39% of first technical interventions, such that a large part of first interventions were proactively generated by the nursing staff and not by the patients or during scheduled visits,' the authors state in the journal article.

Takeaway: It seems to make sense that clinic staff be the first to initiate interventions, given how few patients new to CPAP, who struggle, are likely to make that first call themselves.  


Count Patterns, Not Sheep: Understanding Your Fitbit Sleep Tracker
February 20, 2018

From the blog: “[M]any of these wrist-accessory gadgets track more than just steps taken and calories burned—they also track sleep patterns. The most popular activity device, Fitbit, has even worked with sleep experts to attain the most accurate data a device can gather. To better understand your sleep behavior through your own tracker, the following explanations can help give you the information that will help you make any necessary changes to improve your quality of shut-eye.

Takeaway: As a sleep tech, you should probably learn how these devices work even if you aren't using one for yourself or in a sleep clinic environment. Patients that use this technology will expect you to have more than a passing acquaintance with these wearables: how they work, their shortcomings, their benefits.


Benzodiazepines: our other prescription drug epidemic
February 22, 2018

From the article: “'Benzos' is shorthand for benzodiazepines, a class of drugs often used to treat anxiety and insomnia. The dozen or so different types include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax. Most people have heard of them. More people than you might think are taking them (three benzodiazepines are in the top 10 most commonly prescribed psychotropic medications in the United States). Yet few people realize how many people get addicted to and die from them.” 

Takeaway: Good info on a problematic class of drugs commonly used to treat sleeplessness.


The Perplexing Semantics of Anosognosia
February 21, 2018

From the blog:  “Are there people who simply can't be enticed to accept treatment, who lack insight that they are ill, but who suffer miserably and represent a danger to themselves or others?” 

Takeaway:  If this sounds kinda familiar, then you might be a sleep technologist.  


No more 'cheat sheets': Electronic logs for truckers mandatory by 2020
February 24, 2018

From the article: “The federal government has announced it will require all commercial truck and bus drivers in Canada to install electronic logging devices in their vehicles by the year 2020.

Takeaway: For something so important as driver and highway safety, it makes sense to use technology to track these logs to ensure truckers are less likely to "cheat" on their sleep by driving overtime.

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.