Monday, June 17, 2013
The study findings reported about in this article have been getting lots of press. The study showed that those that report regular sleep difficulties have a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Remember correlation does not equal causation - meaning the study results do not mean insomnia causes prostate cancer. It may be that men with prostate cancer have more insomnia, perhaps from pain or frequent urination.
Friday, June 14, 2013
It's been said that an objective measurement of sleep loss could like finding the Holy Grail. It's been elusive. Here is an article that discusses research showing that a particular gene is expressed more during sleep deprivation. And this gene product could be tested in saliva samples of humans someday. It is not a measurement of sleepiness, but could indicate if a person is sleep deprived. More testing will be needed to see if the gene would be more active in people who get enough sleep, but have an untreated sleep disorder like sleep apnea.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
This article discusses research showing how frequent insomnia symptoms occur in older people. The article does not define how old the study population was - I assume it's 65 years or older. The results showed that over 90% of those surveyed reported insomnia symptoms. And over half reported using some form of treatment to help them sleep better - whether that was prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, alcohol, or behavioral treatment. Sleep apnea is not discussed, and it's known that sleep apnea worsens with age and can cause insomnia.
Monday, June 10, 2013
This article discusses research showing how training older person's minds (called cognitive training) can improve sleep quality. Effects were modest but were not seen in the control population. This could be a non-drug way to help older persons with chronic insomnia.
Friday, June 7, 2013
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that impacts a persons thinking and behavior. It's hard to treat and there is no cure. Sleep problems are common. This article discusses that point - in particular insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and sleep-related movement disorders. This is what I see in my practice when patients with schizophrenia are referred to me. OSA is common due to obesity, and obesity can be worsened by the medications used to treat schizophrenia. Also, movement disorders when asleep can be more common due to the medications used for schizophrenia.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological sleep disorder characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs at night. This study showed a link between RLS and erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with RLS had a 38% increased risk of ED compared with men without RLS, after adjusting for age, smoking status, and other potential confounders. What's not known, is if the men had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). RLS is often seen in OSA. The OSA could have attributed to the ED, not the RLS.
Monday, June 3, 2013
Sleep loss has been linked to cardiovascular disease. Researchers think that the sleep loss my cause inflammation that negatively affects blood vessels. This study showed that short term sleep loss did negatively affect blood vessels. Researchers took 8 people and had them sleep only 4 hours a night for 3 nights. By second night of sleep loss, there was significant impact on blood vessels. But by the third night of sleep loss, things had returned to normal. So chronic, nightly sleep loss may allow for compensation. But if people lose sleep for 1-2 nights, then sleep normally a few nights, followed by another 1-2 nights of poor sleep may be at increased risk due to the effects on blood vessels.