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Blog Feature

By: admin on October 10th, 2016

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This Week in Sleep Medicine: October 10, 2016

Sleep Technologist Advice

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


MRI measurements reveal effects of sleep deprivation
October 7, 2016

From the article: “Data source: A sleep study that used functional MRI to measure changes in brain response in 33 healthy adults.”

Takeaway: A fascinating look at what happens to our cognitive and psychomotor functions after almost 2 days without sleep. Good information here based on scientific evidence you can share with patients who don’t believe their sleep debt is harmful to them.


Sleep disorders under-diagnosed, could pose severe health risks
October 2, 2016

From the article: “ ‘Forty percent of adults report treatable sleeping problems,’ said Steve Doe, technical coordinator at Samaritan Medical Center's Sleep Disorders Center. ‘(Sleep specialists) see maybe 1 percent for treatment.’ ”

Takeaway: Coming from a source focused on insurance carrier interests, this is a welcome review of the dire need for more sleep studies and treatments that patients can access and afford. Maybe it will open some eyes. Now if we could just get insurance companies to be more forthcoming with reimbursements for necessary diagnostics and therapeutics…


3 Limitations to the Use of Pulse Oximetry
Month day, 2016

From the article: “Although Dr. [Thomas W.] Frederickson acknowledges the usefulness of pulse oximetry, he says that its use has limitations, stating:

‘…it’s important to keep in mind that those are parts of a
comprehensive strategy. It’s not simply continuous pulse
oximetry; and it is continuous pulse oximetry… not
intermittent pulse oximetry. …There are a number of
limitations even though it can be an effective strategy.’ ”

Takeaway: While this article addresses the trend in patient use of pulse oximetry in relation to opioid use, some patients are finding ways to incorporate general use pulse oximeters in their wearable wellness regimens. Fitness practitioners already use them in their training sets.

Masimo also just came out with a pulse-ox App called MightySat (hat tip: Sleep Review) that’s available for $4.99 (iOS) and integrates with Apple’s Health app.

It won’t be long before patients who snore or are “accused” of sleep apnea by their sleep mates start using these to prove otherwise (which could be a good or bad thing, depending upon how accurate the Masimo device actually is). Something to be aware of.


How Tech Startups Are Waking Up the Sleep Industry
September 26, 2016

From the article: “From data analysis to innovative wearables, new companies are working on solutions for Americans' sleep problems.”

Takeaway: Whether these technologies are actually functional matters very little: they have grabbed the attention of the mainstream and are creating competition for the services offered by sleep specialists, which are built on a foundation solid medical science.

We need to stay on top of these trends as sleep technologists; our patients are, or will be, using these gadgets, wearables, apps, or other products because they promise affordability, ease, and the chance to self treat. 

While we know that these patients still need to see real doctors for real sleep disorders, they may be harder to convince as the market continues to offer these appealing alternatives while the costs of tests and treatments remain high.


Alcoholism worsens insomnia, but there is hope
October 3, 2016

From the article: “The authors reviewed 135 studies retrieved from four databases – Pubmed, Medline, Embase and Google Scholar – to gather abstracts from American, European, and other international databases for the period January 1, 1967 to December 31, 2015.”

Takeaway: It appears that ramelteon and CBT-i can help address bi-directional issues with sleep disorders and comorbid alcohol dependence.

Still, alcoholism (as we have seen firsthand in sleep clinics) is an ongoing threat to sleep health. Whether sleep clinics are in the position of promoting more alcoholism awareness is unclear, but patients need to know... their drinking habits are going to impact their sleep quality. 


Sleepwalking Till Dawn – Effects of Lack of Sleep on Body, Brain and Performance
October 7, 2016

From the article: “Generally speaking, most Americans often times overlook the potential long-term health problems of insufficient sleep, and the impact that health complications can ultimately have on one’s time and productivity as noted by, Dr. Lawrence Epstein.”

Takeaway: Remember these important facts about sleep deprivation when:

  1. you are talking to your patients about the side effects of untreated restless legs and sleep apnea, as both lead to serious sleep deprivation, and
  2. you are feeling the weight of shift work on your own body, mind, and mood.


Announcement: The ASBA recently spoke at the House of Representatives on Oral Appliance Therapy
October 4, 2016

From the article: “ ‘The lawmakers want solutions and oral appliances are becoming the answer,’ says [ASBA CEO David] Gergen.”

Takeaway: The American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA) is becoming quite active in their lobby to get more support across multiple institutions for dental sleep medicine.

Its competition with classic PAP therapies (and their powerhouse corporate lobbies) continues to create challenges where sleep clinics continue to go with what they know (PAP) rather than try out new therapies like oral devices.

Everyone should remember, however... in the end, decisions for treatment should still always be focused on what's best for the patient. 

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.