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Blog Feature

By: Tamara Sellman on November 29th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: November 29, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice

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

CULTURE WATCH

N24 Awareness Day 2016: Genetics, the new face of N24 and DSPS
Delayed2Sleep
November 23, 2016

From the article:I got my genes tested this month, and what I found out puts a new face on my understanding of N24 and DSPD.

Takeaway: This is anecdotal at best, but the underlying analysis by this individual reveals the strides that genetics researchers are making to achieve greater granularity and affordability in their genetic testing. Knowing how your circadian system might be genetically tweaked to favor a certain sleep-wake rhythm could be extremely helpful to you for so many reasons.


INDUSTRY WATCH

New Federal Overtime Regulations: What do they mean for healthcare employees and companies?
ADVANCE HEALTHCARE NETWORK FOR RESPIRATORY CARE & SLEEP MEDICINE
November 14, 2016

From the article:In May, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final revisions to the federal overtime regulations. The final regulations significantly impact the common white collar exemptions from the federal overtime requirements, including those applicable to executive, administrative and professional employees. The DOL estimates that millions of employees who were not previously eligible for overtime will become eligible when the new regulations go into effect Dec. 1. 

Takeaway: Of interest to sleep techs everywhere who work overtime.


TREND WATCH

WAKE UP CALL! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do
GOVERNOR'S HIGHWAY SAFETY ASSOCIATION
November 17, 2016

From the article: “The report is intended to help Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) member State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) and their partners better understand the cause and effect of drowsy driving and identify how best to address it in their respective states and/or communities. It explores what is known about the extent of drowsy driving, the crash characteristics, who is most at risk, and the challenges associated with combating the problem.”

Takeaway: This useful PDF (73 pages) outlines the recent history of drowsy driving, as a public health and safety concern, through a legislative lens. For anyone who wants to advocate for more sleep apnea screening to prevent drowsy driving among transportation workers, this is a goldmine of information about past, present, and future efforts.


TECHNOLOGY WATCH

The complete guide to the iPhone's Bedtime mode
MASHABLE
November 6, 2016

From the article:Here's everything you need to know about the iPhone's Bedtime mode, from getting started to analyzing your results. 

Takeaway: If you've already mastered this new feature, you may still wish to share this link out to patients, friends, co-workers, or family members who aren't using it but might benefit from using it.


PHARMA WATCH

Drug Therapy Guidance Lacking for Sleep Disorders in Dementia
PSYCHIATRY ADVISOR
November 21, 2016

From the article:A Cochrane systematic review has found a clear lack of evidence in the pharmacologic guidance of sleep problems in dementia... To evaluate the effects of any drug treatment vs. placebo for sleep disorders in patients with dementia, researchers identified all relevant randomized controlled trials. They included trials that compared a drug to placebo and that had the primary objective of improving sleep in patients with dementia who had an identified sleep disturbance at baseline... Six trials evaluating 3 drugs — melatonin (n=222), trazodone (n=30), and ramelteon (n=74) — were eligible for inclusion.”

Takeaway: Sure, as sleep techs, we can't prescribe or administer drugs. And we certainly can't diagnose any patient with anything. This doesn't mean we can't observe the use of bedtime medications by patients with a known history for dementia, nor should we be shy in calling out concerns about the cognitive stability of patients who haven't been diagnosed, especially if certain medications show up on their EHR as active.

Dementia can be very sly and patients who suffer from it might be aware enough of its presence to work very hard to cover it up. 

What we see in the lab overnight is valuable information for physicians when making decisions about diagnoses and therapeutics. If you have always wondered what to do when you observe patients with dementia-like symptoms (with or without a diagnosis), this might be a good time to discuss with your lab manager how to safely share this information to ensure these patients get the best care possible.


HEALTH LITERACY WATCH

4 pre-Thanksgiving health news turkeys on observational studies
HEALTH NEWS REVIEW
November 23, 2016

From the article: “...The limits of observational studies... once again missing from health care PR news releases... and from health care news stories. Two examples of each caught our eye in this pre-Thanksgiving news slowdown period. As real news slows down, news about observational studies often fills the void.  Just what we didn’t need. Here are some things that journalists–and their readers–should know.”

Takeaway: There are some great examples here providing tips for us as readers and health educators. Knowing how to practice skepticism when reading research study results is critical to our jobs in sleep technology. We have to be able to use these critical thinking skills better than our patients. 


LEGISLATION WATCH

Eighth Circuit Court Again Approves Safety-Based Medical Examination without Individualized Assessment
THE NATIONAL LAW REVIEW
November 21, 2016

From the article:Does an employer violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it requires an entire class of employees to undergo a medical examination without assessing each class member’s individual characteristics? Filling a relative void in case law, the Eighth Circuit recently said no – at least where the employer has credible safety concerns and seeks to comply with federal regulations and guidelines."

Takeaway: More fine tuning when it comes to regulations imposed on commercial drivers by employers, with the court ruling in favor of public health and safety. 


BIO:  Tamara Kaye Sellman RPSGT, CCSH curates the weekly sleep news 
clearinghouse, SleepyHeadCENTRAL, where she follows sleep health
headlines daily. She is also
Chief Content Officer for inboundMed and
contributes to
AAST’s magazine, A2Zzz, and other places.