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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on June 19th, 2018

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: June 19, 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.



Innovative Sleep Centers in Tumwater has a New Website to Better Serve Patients
June 18, 2018 

From the feature: “The website …provides community members and local doctors with information and education about sleep disorders, the services offered at facilities, and provides updates in the field of sleep medicine through their social media channels as well as through weekly blog posts on the Sleep Health Blog.

Takeaway: Given the common practice of potential patients visiting Google to learn more about sleep health, it makes sense that your sleep clinic have its own blog (or podcast, or YouTube, or even just a static page) to reach those nearest you with information that might compel them to seek help for their sleep problems.


Treating PTSD Sleep Disorders
June 13, 2018 

From the article: “Of the millions of Americans suffering from PTSD, many are members of the military, some of whom spent months in harm’s way only to find they can’t return to normal once they return home from service. Now, there is a trial of a new medication designed to lessen nightmares and improve sleep for those with PTSD.

Takeaway: As many techs in VA settings can attest, more options for those with PTSD are greatly needed. 


Identification and Characterization of Failures in Infectious Agent Transmission Precaution Practices in Hospitals: A Qualitative Study
June 11, 2018

From the study: “Active failures in PPE use and transmission-based precautions, potentially leading to self-contamination, were commonly observed.

Takeaway: It's never a bad idea to check yourself when it comes to your use of personal protective equipment. Just because we aren't surgeons doesn't mean we can skip these protocols. 


Uber locks out its drivers from App in safety drive
June 14, 2018

From the article: “Ride hailing firm Uber has introduced a safety feature that automatically logs off drivers on the app forcing them to take a break from work.”

Takeaway: This may make a lot of workaholic drivers unhappy, but if you've ever hailed an Uber or Lyft and watched your driver yawn the whole way to your destination, then this should make you happy. This change takes place currently in South Africa but will likely come to the US soon.


The Sleep Apnea Appliance Market is on the Rise
June 11, 2018

From the website: “When asked about the increase market demand, [Dr. Martha Cortés, DDS of Cortés Advanced Dentistry in New York] explained the change came after the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) approved the use of dental appliances as the 'first line of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.' Professionally fabricated appliances 'are also a therapeutic alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask therapy due to non-compliance,' she added, since cumbersome devices are frequently abandoned due to low patient tolerance. …The benefits of sleep appliances don’t stop there. Other 'co-occurring conditions linked to abnormal breathing.' like bruxism, are 'not caused by stress, but rather, a breathing obstruction,' Cortés remarked. 'Many patients are shocked to learn that a dental device may treat the condition.'

Takeaway: Many sleep techs seem just as shocked. If you still don't believe an oral device can fix sleep apnea, you might consider expanding your understanding of how it works. 


A Biopharma Company Explains Why Histamine Matters in Narcolepsy
June 12, 2018

From the article: “For people with type 1 narcolepsy (previously dubbed narcolepsy with cataplexy), the instability is linked to low levels of hypocretin, also known as orexin—a neurotransmitter produced in the hypothalamus that plays a leading role in promoting wakefulness and regulating rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. …But one biopharmaceutical company is working on a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new drug application (NDA) for a narcolepsy treatment that targets histamine, not hypocretin.” 

Takeaway: This is an interesting development with lots of research already showing promise overseas, meaning this new medication (pitolisant, under the brand name Wakix in Europe) might soon be fast-tracked for approval by the FDA in the US.


NSC Survey: 90% of Employers Negatively Impacted by Tired Employees
June 13, 2018

From the report:  “A National Safety Council survey found 90% of America’s employers have been negatively impacted by tired employees, with half saying they’ve had an employee fall asleep on the job.” 

Takeaway: The full report is free to download and worth its weight in gold if your patient population includes people who are having problems at work due to sleep disorders and poor sleep hygiene. The report provides a wealth of statistics and information to help educate patients—and employers—on the critical importance of adequate, healthy sleep.  


Man alleges sleep apnea was factor in termination from U.S. Zinc Corp.
June 14, 2018

From the article: “According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Oct. 9, 2017, he was fired from his employment with the defendant. He alleges he had been employed by the defendant since 2001 and on June 14, 2017, he gave the company a doctor's note explaining his sleep apnea disability. He alleges the next day, he was written up and placed on a performance improvement plan. The suit states he took FMLA leave in July and September 2017.   …The plaintiff holds U.S. Zinc Corp. responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to provide reasonable accommodations, failed to engage in the interactive process and terminated him in retaliation for taking protected FMLA leave.

Takeaway: It will be interesting to see what happens in this court case, as the plaintiff has requested a jury trial. Whether current FMLA and ADA laws will be found in violation could open the door to many other suits with similar grievances. 

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.