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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on January 23rd, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: January 23, 2018

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

 sleeping bats

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



Driver education: Enhancing knowledge of sleep, fatigue and risky behaviour (sic) to improve decision making in young drivers
January 8, 2018

From the abstract:Education about sleep and driving could reduce the risk of drowsy driving and associated road trauma in young drivers, but requires evaluation in a broader sample with assessment of real world driving outcomes.

Takeaway:  How many driver's education instructors or parents put poor sleep and higher risks for car accidents together? This might be a great topic to raise before a school board or PTO as a sleep tech, in conjunction with research data gathered by the Start School Later campaign.


State of The Union: Fire Service Behavioral Check-Up
January 19, 2018 

From the report:('Implementing a Sleep Health Education and Sleep Disorders Screening Program in Fire Departments,' 2015) found that 37 percent of them screened positive for at least one sleep disorder (sleep apnea, insomnia).

Takeaway:  Wouldn't it be great if all those engaged in community safety (employees of police departments, hospitals, and emergency service departments) could have a "state of the union" that focused on good sleep health as critical to on-the-job safety and performance? 


Comparing the Efficacy, Mask Leak, Patient Adherence, and Patient Preference of Three Different CPAP Interfaces to Treat Moderate-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea
January 15, 2018

From the abstract: “The CPAP adherence did not differ between the three different mask interfaces but the residual AHI was lower with NM than ONM and patients reported greater mask comfort, better sleep, and overall preference for a NM. A nasal mask with or without chinstrap should be the first choice for patients with OSA referred for CPAP treatment.

Takeaway: Sleep techs argue about this all the time. What do you think? 


When a private community neurology practice executes home sleep apnea testing: benefits identified and lessons learned in a retrospective observational study
January 15, 2018

From the abstract: “Based on this observational study, community-based neurological practices and board-certified sleep specialists should consider teaming up to develop HSAT collaborative programs to open new sleep care access pathways for neurological patients often at risk for sleep apnea.

Takeaway: Sleep techs who work for neurologists could see an uptick in studies if this becomes an industry-wide practice. It makes sense to screen all patients with neurological disorders as there's a good chance they have at least one sleep disorder as well. 


Sleep apnea treatment uses 'snake-like' surgical robot
January 16, 2018

From the news video/transcript: “Flex robotic surgery is covered by most insurances and is also FDA-cleared for head and neck and colorectal cases.

Takeaway: For those patients who struggle with PAP therapy but tonsillectomy, though indicated, is a high-risk option, this might be a potential life saver. 


New perspectives on the role of melatonin in human sleep, circadian rhythms and their regulation.
January 17, 2018

From the abstract: “As a result of the recently discovered relationship between circadian clock, sleep and neurodegeneration, new prospects of using melatonin for early intervention, to promote healthy physical and mental ageing (sic), are of prime interest in view of the emerging link to the aetiology (sic) of Alzheimer's disease.

Takeaway: As sleep techs, we may have opinions about the effectiveness of supplemental melatonin based on past information. This research suggests the industry reconsider its use and value in light of new knowledge about the circadian system.  


Study: Sleep app users are mostly healthy, affluent
January 16, 2018

From the article: In terms of health indicators, people who tracked sleep also tended to have a higher self-report of their health, the healthiness of their diet, and their exercise habits. Interestingly, smokers were more likely than non-smokers to use the apps and people who had had a stroke or heart attack were more likely than those who had not. It's possible these apps could have been suggested by doctors for these users. …Unsurprisingly, people who used health apps for other purposes, like medication tracking, exercise tracking, or tracking a biomarker, were more likely to track sleep as well.” 

Takeaway:  Regardless whether you think these trackers are actually helping patients with their sleep problems, this study sheds some interesting light on who these app users are, and it suggests a potentially proactive community exists which is willing to take more interest in personal healthcare decision-making.


AMA and national stakeholders release consensus statement on prior authorization
January 19, 2018

From the position statement: “The prior authorization process can be burdensome for all involved—health care providers, health plans, and patients. Yet, there is wide variation in medical practice and adherence to evidence based treatment. Communication and collaboration can improve stakeholder understanding of the functions and challenges associated with prior authorization and lead to opportunities to improve the process, promote quality and affordable health care, and reduce unnecessary burdens.

Takeaway: PAs have been an unnecessary evil for many labs, but with such support across the medical industry, updating prior authorization rules could bring changes that favor us all. Stay tuned.


9 Things That Drive Sleep Technologists Crazy
1-800 CPAP.com
January 12, 2018

From the commentary: “Sleep technicians are scrub wearing, caffeine chugging, electrode toting nocturnal inhabitants that roam the halls of sleep clinics and hospitals during the haunting hours of the night.  If seen in the light of day they are often confronted with the same awkward question; 'So, you basically watch people sleep all night?' Rather than get into a lengthy description that results in a glazed look it’s just simple to tell people 'Yes, that’s exactly what we do.'. But for those of you that might be checking in for a night’s stay at our sleep lab please read these helpful little tips to make all of our lives easier.

Takeaway: A fun way to air our frustration surrounding the misconceptions about our jobs!

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.