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UA Professor Engages Kids, Encourages Z’s

October 13th, 2015 Raquel Rothe
By Sydney Donaldson
,

UA College of Engineering
September 28, 2015
RESOURCES FOR THE MEDIA
Janet Meiling Roveda in the College of Engineering has designed MySleep for maximum precision and security.

Janet Meiling Roveda in the College of Engineering has designed MySleep for maximum precision and security.
UA professors Michelle Perfect and Janet Roveda (fifth and sixth from left) with student researchers Imelda Murrieta, Estrella Ochoa, Sara Frye, Paloma Colacion and Daniel Shammas.

UA professors Michelle Perfect and Janet Roveda (fifth and sixth from left) with student researchers Imelda Murrieta, Estrella Ochoa, Sara Frye, Paloma Colacion and Daniel Shammas.

More and more information is at our fingertips, thanks to engineers and computer scientists who translate enormous amounts of complex data from portable and wearable devices into language that users can easily understand.

But what if the user is a fourth-grader?

Janet Meiling Roveda, a University of Arizona associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is addressing that question as co-principal investigator of the “Z-Factor,” officially called the Sleep Education Program to Improve STEM Education in Elementary School.

More than 500 fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Catalina Foothills School District are expected to participate in Z-Factor over the next three years, the largest-ever national study of elementary school students’ sleep habits and STEM learning.

The study involves creating a curriculum that uses the topic of sleep to develop students’ skills and interests in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields. In the process, the program is expected to educate children and parents about sleep’s role in academic performance, perhaps encouraging more sleep in students’ routines.

“With this study, we’re trying to get kids engaged in STEM topics and rested enough to pursue them,” Roveda said.

Michelle Perfect, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, is the lead investigator on the $1.2 million project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers.

Secure Software Program

For the STEM-learning and sleep-monitoring parts of the study, Roveda has developed a Web-based software program called “MySleep,” which is highly encrypted and password-protected with secure algorithms built in.

“While most algorithms for research studies are nonlinear in complexity, our algorithms use high-speed linear encryption and secure data compression techniques that require users to compress and recover the data several times,” Roveda said. She developed the novel algorithms for Z-Factor with help from UA engineers Linda Powers and Wolfgang Fink, experts in designing large-scale biomedical research studies.

“With a study of this magnitude, especially one that involves the information of children, we want to make sure all information is secure,” Roveda said.

The software collects and analyzes thousands of gigabytes of data from activity monitors the children wear and converts the data into understandable and interesting content for students using the MySleep website.

The children will wear actigraphs — watch-like monitors that track hours of sleep, quality of sleep, restlessness and other factors — for multiple nights early in the study. At the end of the recording period, they will upload data from their monitors to tablets the district has purchased for the project. The data will be stored on a secure server.

When students enter their personal MySleep portals on the Internet — to which parents and teachers also have access — they will see avatars in their likenesses and caricatures of parents, teachers and friends. Colorful graphs will show students their sleep patterns, and planning charts will help them monitor daily activities.

Measuring Success

Students will design personal research projects based on data from their activity monitors. In the process, the students will learn about science and math and develop critical thinking and communication skills. They may even discover that a little more sleep can help them do better on a math quiz.

“Z-Factor is based on the premise that having students solve problems in real-world situations that are relevant to their daily lives can have a long-lasting positive impact on their interest in STEM and intention to pursue additional STEM courses and careers,” Roveda said.

Teachers will incorporate data from MySleep into their lessons on math, statistics, averages, probabilities and other subjects. Roveda and Perfect are developing the curriculum in collaboration with the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, a nonprofit science education organization.

“The work Janet is doing will help kids analyze their personal data in a developmentally appropriate way,” said Perfect, a licensed psychologist who has extensive experience working with young children and families. “By studying their own sleep data and using mobile technologies for personal data management, these elementary school students are on a real-world research frontier.”

As part of the project assessment, students in the Z-Factor study will take pre- and post-assessment tests developed by Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and selected by Perfect and other UA researchers to assess whether interest and skills in STEM topics have grown.

The Z-Factor team already is working to make the program more widely available, and members are planning to translate the MySleep content into Spanish and adapt the program to work efficiently with less costly sleep-tracking devices or only handwritten sleep diaries.

“We want this data-driven sleep research study and STEM curriculum to be accessible to every student in every school,” Roveda said.

Even smartphone screens impact kids’ sleep, study finds

February 26th, 2015 Raquel Rothe

Meghan Holohan


Jan. 5, 2015 at 2:44 AM ET

For tweens who got a tablet or smartphone for the holidays, their new bedtime routine may involve Netflix helping them doze off. But don’t think that’s better than watching TV before bed. A new study finds that even small-screen devices interrupt children’s sleep.

Experts have known that a flickering TV in the bedroom cuts into children’s sleep time. A researcher at the University of California, Berkeley wondered if small screens, such as those found on tablets and smartphones, influenced children’s sleep, too.

“Much less is known about new forms of media, like smartphones,” says Jennifer Falbe, lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics. “[They] have the potential to impact sleep, perhaps to a greater degree than traditional media.”

Falbe studied results from the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration, where 2,048 fourth-and seventh-grade students answered questions about their sleep and TV, smartphone, and tablet habits.

What the new research found:

  • Children who dozed off near a small screen said they slept 20.6 minutes less than their peers who snoozed away from electronic devices.
  • More importantly, children attached to small screens complained of interrupted sleep, something that even those who watched loads of TV or slept with a TV in the room did not admit to feeling.
  • Those who were lulled to sleep by a TV admitted to 18 fewer minutes a sleep.
  • Children who spent a lot of time during the day watching TV or videos or playing videogames also reported sleeping less.

The study didn’t look at why small screens impact sleep, but Falbe says a few factors play a role.

“While any type of light can suppress melatonin release, blue light emitted from electronics has a stronger impact on melatonin release,” she says. “Content can be engaging and emotionally arousing.”

While children may treat tablets and smartphones like another appendage, experts say there are ways to stop them from migrating to the bedroom.

“[Smart phones and tablets] are robbing the kid of the nightly routine of how to go to bed and get to sleep,” says Michele Borba, a parenting expert and TODAY Parents contributor.

She believes children need to learn how to fall asleep without help from electronics and recommends that phones and tablets are worked into the nighttime routine. Children will soon know that they can’t use electronics a half hour before bed.

Parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa takes it one step further: parents should keep all chargers in their bedrooms and tell their children they must “park” their devices in their rooms. The ping of a text will no longer cause a child to spring from bed to check a phone or tablet.

“Kids genuinely believe … communication is actually that urgent,” says Gilboa. “Every one of those messages feels impossible to ignore.”

http://www.today.com/parents

Is it ADHD, or does your child have Sleep Apnea?

May 21st, 2014 Raquel Rothe

A thoughtful question posed by a doctor at The Pennsylvania Snoring and Sleep Institute. Many of the symptoms are similar and the two illnesses are often confused.

“Not much is understood by parents about snoring or sleep apnea, especially in their children. The Stanford School of Medicine states that about 10% of children 10 years of age and younger snore and, of those children who snore, about 20% will haveobstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring can be a sign that your child has sleep apnea as it indicates, at the very least, that their airway is partially obstructed during sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can interrupt or stop your child’s breathing, prevent a normal night’s sleep, impair growth, and lead to a lower quality of life. It also can cause serious fatigue during the day which is why it is so often confused with ADHD.
Sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have long been associated with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). You should know that not every child diagnosed with sleep apnea has ADHD, just as not every child diagnosed with ADHD has sleep apnea. However, many studies have been performed indicating a significant correlation between OSA and behavioral issues. Children with obstructive sleep apnea do not get restful sleep, and as a result may complain of morning headaches, be irritable and have difficulty concentrating.
Children with sleep apnea may complain of being tired during the day and, at the same time, exhibit hyperactive behavior or act impulsively. Herein lays the confusion of separating sleep apnea from ADHD because many of the classic symptoms of ADHD are often exhibited in children with OSA. So, as a parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD, what do you do?”

5-7-14 adhd“It will be in your child’s best interest if you dig a little deeper into the root of what may be causing these behaviors. Watch your child sleep at night – and even record it if you can. Check for restlessness, mouth breathing, snoring, or breathing pauses. If they occur, have your child evaluated for possible sleep apnea to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Figuring out if your child has sleep apnea or ADHD may seem quite complex but it doesn’t have to be. Consult with a sleep apnea doctor if you can answer ‘yes’ to any or some of the following questions:
- Does your child snore?
- Does your child stop breathing for a few seconds at night?
- Does your child frequently mouth breathe?
- Does your child sleep through the night or is it a restless sleep?
- Is there frequent bedwetting?
- Does your child seem irritable during the day? Is there difficulty focusing? Are there periods of hyperactivity?”

7-14-1`2 teacher and sleeper“The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common causes of sleep apnea in children. An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist can determine if your child’s tonsils and adenoids are enlarged and possibly blocking the airway at night. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can successfully treat sleep apnea by removing the obstruction in the airway resulting in a complete elimination of symptoms in 80-90% of children.”

Dr. Lana B. Patitucci, D.O. is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist at The Pennsylvania Snoring and Sleep Institute. She is trained in all aspects of general and pediatric otolaryngology including endoscopic sinus, otologic, head and neck, and facial plastic surgery.

Review of OSA Therapy Options for Pediatric Patients

May 2nd, 2014 Raquel Rothe

April 11, 2014
by 

Sleep apnea is difficult for anyone to live with, but it is especially challenge for a young child. As a parent, it can also be quite frightening and stressful. If you have noticed that your child has sleep apnea, Take them to a physician and start treatment as soon as possible. Following are some treatment options for children with sleep apnea.

Surgery is often an option for children with severe sleep apnea.  These surgeries are to remove the tonsils or the adenoids.The surgery typically has a success rate of about 80 50 percent. In some cases, the tonsils or adenoids can actually grow back, increasing the chances of sleep apnea re-developing. Regular followup is a must for patients with sleep apnea.

Another option to consider is getting your child a CPAP to use at night. CPAP stands for a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.  Your child would need to wear a mask which is attached to a blower that will continuously blow air into your child’s nose throughout the night while he or she is sleeping. These devices are shown to maintain normal breathing patterns and keep your child safe.

Dentistry does not have a treatment modality that includes treatment for pediatric OSA with classic sleep appliances.  This is due to the quick arch and dentition changes.  Dental treatment comes in to form of orthodontic treatment that includes maxillary expansion and advancement of the mandible.  These 2 modalities require much further elaboration.  This is not the venue.

Snoring and CPAP Intolerance: Dr. Keropian is the inventor and patent holder of the Full Breath Solution sleep appliance. He has attained 5 FDA Certification and 5 Patents. Presently he has two patents pending. He the CEO of Full Breath Corporation.

He can be reached at 818-702-6002 or via email at fullbreathsolution@hotmail.com or tmjrelief@msn.com. You can also check out his website: cpapalternative.com

Sleep And The Autistic Child

June 13th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Great article and very well written!  Read below:

http://www.sleepandwellness.net/2012/06/10/sleep-and-the-autistic-child/