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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on July 17th, 2017

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: July 17, 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.

CULTURE WATCH

"Don’t blame doctors for medication nonadherence"
SKEPTICAL SCALPEL via KEVIN MD
July 9, 2017

From the blog: "Rather than blaming doctors for the problem of medication nonadherence, let’s focus on ways to enlighten the patients. ... No foundations or patient advocate groups are promoting awareness of nonadherence."

Takeaway:  Do you agree with this last sentence? It certainly doesn't ring true in sleep health: the ASAA has A.W.A.K.E. programs specifically designed to do just this, for instance. And how much patient education do we, as sleep technologists, perform with every single patient we encounter? It's hard to believe our field isn't making "patient enlightenment" a priority.

INDUSTRY WATCH

"Weight Gain, Food Timing and Chrononutrition"
HEALTHY SHIFT WORKER
July 5, 2017 

From the article: "Chrononutrition involves the study of how nutrition impacts on our metabolism, via our internal body clock, which includes meal regularity (or in the case of a shift worker, meal irregularity), frequency and clock time."

Takeaway: Weight gain and metabolic dysfunction are practically guaranteed outcomes for those of us working the night shift. Here's some useful information about timing your meals to better serve your rhythms, even if they're a bit disrupted by job demands.

TREND WATCH

"Health Plans That Nudge Patients to Do the Right Thing"
THE INCIDENTAL ECONOMIST
July 12, 2017

From the blog post: A program by a large public employer in Oregon raised cost-sharing for sleep studies, upper gastrointestinal endoscopies, advanced imaging services and certain types of overused procedures, like surgery for back pain. Although clinically appropriate circumstances exist for each service, copayments were raised $100 to $500 only for those specific situations where their use was deemed not medically necessary.”

Takeaway: Value-based insurance design may or may not be friendly to sleep medicine... it all depends upon who is assigning medical necessity, for instance. 

TECHNOLOGY WATCH

"Can tech replace painkillers? Amid an opiate crisis, some are looking for a drug-free answer to pain."
ENGADGET
July 10, 2017

From the article: "Chronic pain can be psychologically debilitating. A 2014 study states that chronic pain can "increase psychiatric distress" and that those suffering from it can show greater signs of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can seep into all aspects of life."

Takeaway: While the author of this article doesn't address the problems that pain brings to sleep (that other "aspect of life" conveniently forgotten here), they did point to pain-reducing and -relieving technologies which are capturing the interests of sleep health advocates, such as Quell and Stimwave. Given our current opioid crisis, it makes me wonder: might DMEs and sleep clinics benefit from offering pain-relief technologies along with CPAP, light therapy equipment, and other hardware used to help with sleep and wake disorders?

PHARMA WATCH

"Understanding L-theanine: Sleep better at night, feel relaxed and alert during the day"
THE SLEEP DOCTOR
July 11, 2017

From the website:One of the appealing aspects of L-theanine is that it works to relax without sedating. That can make L-theanine a good choice for people who are looking to enhance their 'wakeful relaxation,' without worrying about becoming sleepy and fatigued during the day. 


Takeaway: As sleeping pills become increasingly viewed as detrimental and addictive, more and more people are turning to nutritional supplements to support their sleep health, and melatonin isn't the only substance they're interested in.

HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

"CPAP Use Rises After Patients See Videos of Themselves"
AMERICAN SLEEP ASSOCIATION
July 16, 2017

From the article: "As part of a study out of National Jewish Health in Denver, Mr. Brugger watched a disturbing video of himself at night without the CPAP machine.  Watching himself struggling to breathe while sleeping made him change his mind about using the machine.  Now, he claims he cannot sleep without the device."

Takeaway: Can we just make this part of the patient encounter during the in-lab test follow up for every patient? Fear does motivate the survival instinct, and we have the video already in place to provide patients with the visual aid they need to make a smart decision about sleep apnea treatment.

LEGISLATION WATCH

"California Law Could Change Everything For The Start School Later Movement"
HUFFINGTON POST
JULY 13, 2017

From the website: "A landmark school start time bill crossed a major hurdle this week, passing out of the California Assembly’s Education Committee with bi-partisan support. Already passed by the state senate, this bill stands to make California the first U.S. state to ensure that middle and high schools start at times that allow for healthy sleep."

Takeaway: Statewide passage of such a bill could quickly accelerate Start School Later efforts across the US. 


BIO:  Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the sleep health information clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health news headlines daily. She is also Web Consultant for the American Sleep Apnea Association, writes MS-related columns for two medical publishers, and contributes as a freelance writer to AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.


The 2017 Fall Course, Current Technology Trends in Sleep Medicine, will be held at the Louisville Marriott East in Louisville, KY, from October 13 - 14, 2017. Will you be there?

2017 Fall Course