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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on July 25th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: July 25, 2018

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.



Sleep in Heavenly Peace: Butler County couple wants to ensure no kids sleep on the floor
WCPO Cincinnati
July 23, 2018 

From the news video: “Started in Idaho, Sleep in Heavenly Peace works to build and donate bunk beds to needy children who don’t have beds of their own. The organization has about 70 chapters in 30 states with another 40 in the works, [Butler County chapter president Mike] Watkins said.

Takeaway: This seems like an easy sleep-related community project for sleep techs to participate in.


Are individuals with sleep apnea less healthy than the general population?
July 15, 2018 

From the article: “The researchers noted some limitations in their study. First, the selection of participants was challenging, and varied over time, leading to a potential sampling bias. Second, the measurement of sleep apnea during the sleep study was not consistent across the patients, with more than 80% of the sleep studies measured using a method which may underestimate sleep apnea.

Takeaway: This could really be a chicken-or-egg scenario. If people don't read all the way to the end of this article, they'll miss the part where sampling bias may be a problem with the outcomes of this research. Connecting the dots between sleep apnea and overall health is good, but let's make sure that we understand which came first; otherwise, people who are healthy, who are treating sleep apnea caused by something like a maxillofacial concern (and not obesity), may become stigmatized all the same.


2018 Exciting Update: Advancing Novel Treatment Options for Narcolepsy
July 12, 2018

From the blog post: “Below is a list of some of the emerging treatments 'abuzz' at #SLEEP2018. These are at various stages in development, and it’s hard to predict how quickly each will advance to (hopefully) gain regulatory approval and become available in the U.S. and other locations worldwide.

Takeaway: Narcolepsy researchers are making significant gains, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Julie Flygare. Go Julie!


A Pilot Study of Impulse Radio Ultra Wideband Radar Technology as a New Tool for Sleep Assessment
July 15, 2018

From the study: “In all, 12 participants were recruited and their overnight sleep was assessed both by a Novelda XeThru radar and PSG. Two subjects had two nightly recordings, whereas 10 had one recording. Epoch by epoch (30 seconds) comparisons from bedtime to rise time were conducted. Concordance was estimated in terms of the mean difference between the radar and the PSG estimates regarding sleep onset latency, wake time after sleep onset and total sleep time. In addition, accuracy, sensitivity, specificity and Cohen kappa were calculated.”

Takeaway: This potential sleep disorder assessment technology is nowhere ready for primetime but it shows promise as an easier, cheaper way to gather data for sleep studies.


Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. Announces Aetna Coverage for Inspire Therapy for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
July 9, 2018

From the press release: “Under its policy, Aetna considers Inspire’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved hypoglossal nerve neurostimulation device to be medically necessary for the treatment of moderate to severe OSA when a number of criteria are met.  These include a previous attempt at continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment and patient selection consistent with FDA approval guidelines.

Takeaway: Good news for sleep apnea patients who qualify. Has Inspire become a part of your sleep center's therapies for sleep apnea? Let us know in comments.


In the Pipeline-Obstructive Sleep Apnea: An Anti-Inflammatory MS Drug Shows Promise for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
July 19, 2018

From the article: “A randomized placebo-controlled trial found that four months of treatment with dimethyl fumarate, an immunomodulatory agent commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis, had a significant treatment effect on obstructive sleep apnea severity compared to placebo.” 

Takeaway: [editorial anecdote alert] As a person who actually uses this medication (and have done so for over 5 years) to treat multiple sclerosis, I'm hesitant to suggest it as a treatment because a/it has some pretty awful side effects, b/I was diagnosed with OSA over 4 years after I started, and c/it costs about $70,000 a year. And patients complain about the price of PAP supplies!


Sham sleep feedback delivered via actigraphy biases daytime symptom reports in people with insomnia: Implications for insomnia disorder and wearable devices
July 10, 2018

From the abstract:  “This controlled experiment shows that sham feedback about sleep biases appraisal of daytime symptoms, highlighting a pathway connecting sleep misperception with daytime features of insomnia.” 

Takeaway: Herein lies one of the key reasons why patients should remain skeptical of wearables used without the assistance of a sleep professional (for interpretation of data). Orthosomnia, or the form of insomnia that occurs as the result of one's anxiety about getting enough sleep, is now a sleep disorder we need to be watching for, thanks to the inaccuracies of current and popular consumer sleep technologies.


Verma: Changes Coming to Stark Self-Referral Law
July 12, 2018

From the article: “The 1989 law, named for former congressman Fortney H. 'Pete' Stark (D-Calif.), 'prohibits a physician from making referrals for certain designated health services payable by Medicare to an entity with which he or she (or an immediate family member) has a financial relationship (ownership, investment, or compensation), unless an exception applies,' CMS notes on its website. …Designated health services include clinical lab services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiology, durable medical equipment, home health services, outpatient prescription drugs, and inpatient and outpatient hospital services.

Takeaway: Let's keep our fingers crossed that these potential changes open up some income stream options for sleep centers that can ultimately contribute to a better continuum of care and better treatment outcomes for patients. 

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.