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Posts Tagged ‘Sleep Disorders’

Sleep Loss Precedes Alzheimer’s Symptoms

April 2nd, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Sleep is disrupted in people who likely have early Alzheimer’s disease but do not yet have the memory loss or other cognitive problems characteristic of full-blown disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report March 11 in JAMA Neurology.

The finding confirms earlier observations by some of the same researchers. Those studies showed a link in mice between sleep loss and brain plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Early evidence tentatively suggests the connection may work in both directions: Alzheimer’s plaques disrupt sleep, and lack of sleep promotes Alzheimer’s plaques.

“This link may provide us with an easily detectable sign of Alzheimer’s pathology,” says senior author David M. Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of Washington University’s Department of Neurology. “As we start to treat people who have markers of early Alzheimer’s, changes in sleep in response to treatments may serve as an indicator of whether the new treatments are succeeding.”

Sleep problems are common in people who have symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists recently have begun to suspect that they also may be an indicator of early disease. The new paper is among the first to connect early Alzheimer’s disease and sleep disruption in humans.

For the new study, researchers recruited 145 volunteers from the University’s Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. All of the volunteers were 45 to 75 years old and cognitively normal when they enrolled.

As a part of other research at the center, scientists already had analyzed samples of the volunteers’ spinal fluids for markers of Alzheimer’s disease. The samples showed that 32 participants had preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, meaning they were likely to have amyloid plaques present in their brains but were not yet cognitively impaired.

Participants kept daily sleep diaries for two weeks, noting the time they went to bed and got up, the number of naps taken on the previous day, and other sleep-related information.

The researchers tracked the participants’ activity levels using sensors worn on the wrist that detected the wearer’s movements.

“Most people don’t move when they’re asleep, and we developed a way to use the data we collected as a marker for whether a person was asleep or awake,” says first author Yo-El Ju, MD, assistant professor of neurology. “This let us assess sleep efficiency, which is a measure of how much time in bed is spent asleep.”

Participants who had preclinical Alzheimer’s disease had poorer sleep efficiency (80.4 percent) than people without markers of Alzheimer’s (83.7 percent). On average, those with preclinical disease were in bed as long as other participants, but they spent less time asleep. They also napped more often.

“When we looked specifically at the worst sleepers, those with a sleep efficiency lower than 75 percent, they were more than five times more likely to have preclinical Alzheimer’s disease than good sleepers,” Ju says.

Ju and her colleagues are following up with studies in younger participants who have sleep disorders.

“We think this may help us get a better feel for the way this connection flows — does sleep loss drive Alzheimer’s, does Alzheimer’s lead to sleep loss, or is it a combination?” Ju says. “That will help us determine whether we can change the course of disease with pharmaceuticals or other treatments.”


This study was funded by an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar award and NIH grant P01NS074969 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Ju Y-E S, McLeland JS, Toedebusch CD, Xiong C, Fagan AM, Duntley SP, Morris JC, Holtzman DM. Sleep quality and preclinical Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurology, online March 11.  National Sleep Foundation

Childhood Obesity and Bedtime Preference

October 28th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

A study published in the October issue of the journal SLEEP from American Academy of Sleep Medicine:


“Scientists have realized in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes, including the risk of being overweight and obese,” said study co-author Carol Maher, PhD. “[The study] suggests that the timing of sleep is even more important.”

This is the year of the sleep technician

October 14th, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Adventures in Breathing by Amy Reavis

Many changes happening in the sleep medicine field, read all about some on the forefront…


Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#13

July 9th, 2011 Raquel Rothe


From the Latin meaning “about a day,” circadian refers to numerous phenomena (especially biological rhythms) that have an interval length of approximately 24 hours. It may be used in reference to circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#6

June 5th, 2011 Raquel Rothe


Parasomnias are sleep disorders characterized by abnormal sleep behaviors. The word comes from Latin and means “around sleep”. Parasomnias involve unconscious complex, semi-purposeful, and goal-directed behaviors. These may include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, sleep eating, sleep sex, rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder, or any number of potential behaviors while the person remains asleep.

Take Time for Your Fitness and Health

January 14th, 2011 Raquel Rothe



Whether you work in the hospital or home care, you and I know how to scavenge for food. We learned it during our student clinical rotations. By the time we graduated, we were experts in respiratory therapy and feeding ourselves. 

There is the ubiquitous break room birthday cake, vendor-supplied lunches, and even hospital food looks pretty good when you are working long hours and rotating shifts. These calories add up, putting us at high risk for declining fitness. If you do not take time for proper diet and exercise, you could wind up in a hospital bed suffering from similar ailments to those you treat every day. Weight control and exercise are excellent low cost methods of preventative medicine. They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and a variety of sleep disorders. 

A good diet is easier than it seems. Count your caloric intake, and measure it against your daily caloric burn. It only takes a deficit of 3,500 calories per week to lose one pound per week. Once you have cut out chips, candy, ice cream, and fast food, you will find you feel better. Of course, you also will find excuses to skip the run and grab a burger through the drive-thru window. But, remember, everything comes with a price.

A patient recently said to me, “I am here for a good time, not a long time.” He is getting his wish. He is 48-years-old, has had both hips replaced, smokes, drinks excessively, is obese, has obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and the list goes on. I expect he will get his wish – he will mostly likely be here a short time. He has been a hospital patient more times than I can recall. Where is the fun in that? 

Making time to exercise should be paramount on your list of daily living activities. I travel every week, which means I must plan my triathlete training in advance. There is a YMCA at nearly all my destinations. If not, I pay a daily fee for a health club that has a pool so I can swim. Running is easier; it is always available and cheap. Cycling is more demanding. If I’m traveling by car, I bring a bike. Beforehand, I search Map My Ride for courses other cyclists have downloaded. I call the local bike shop to see if they have a scheduled ride from the shop while I am in town.

Over the years, I have created a network of friends across the globe with whom I train. Seek a physician in your hospital who is extremely fit as a mentor who can help you choose a fitness program that appeals to you. Oftentimes, this physician knows more about sports medicine and fitness than his medical specialty suggests. Of course, do not bypass your own physician who can monitor your exercise regimen and help you set goals.

At your hospital, start your own fitness group. You will have support, and it will promote espirit de corps. In Tennessee, we had pulmonary rehab patients who were very weak, and two of them set a goal of a 5K run. They reached their goal; granted they did not cross the finish line first, but they did cross the finish line.Take time for your fitness and health. You deserve it.

David Lain, PhD, JD, FCCP, RRT, RCP, is chief clinical officer for Oridion Capnography Inc. He is a three-time Ironman finisher and member of the 2007 USA Long Distance Duathlon World Championship Team.



Sleep Well-The Heart of the Matter

November 24th, 2010 Raquel Rothe

WebMD Expert Blogs
Sleep Well
with Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM
Sleep disorders include a range of problems — from insomnia to narcolepsy — and affect millions of Americans. Dr. Michael Breus shares information and advice on sleep disorder and insomnia treatments and causes.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Heart of the Sleep Matter
I know I’m not the first to tell you about the benefits of exercise. I also know I’m not the first to tell you that exercise can do a body good from both an emotional and physical standpoint.
But I might be the first to tell you that exercise, and specifically the aerobic kind that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time, can improve your sleep. If you’re in insomniac, listen up: a new study from Northwestern Medicine that will be published in the journal Sleep Medicine showed serious promise to the benefits of exercise on people diagnosed with insomnia.
Millions of Americans suffer from symptoms of chronic insomnia, including difficulty falling sleep and/or staying asleep, and impaired daytime functioning. Insomnia also tends to strike more severely during middle age and in older adults. Women have the highest prevalence of insomnia. Many of these people resort to prescription drugs and sleep aids to help achieve a better night’s sleep. But drugs are not always a solution over the long term, and there’s no substitute for exercise, which has benefits that go far beyond restful sleep.
The highlights from the study:
Twenty-three sedentary adults, primarily women, 55 and older with insomnia were divided into two groups: one that would commence an exercise program and another that would engage in less physically demanding activities. Both groups received education about good sleep hygiene, which includes sleeping in a cool, dark and quiet room, going to bed the same time every night, and not staying in bed too long if you can’t fall asleep.
The aerobic physical activity group exercised for two 20-minute sessions four times per week, or one 30-to-40-minute session four times per week, both for a total of 16 weeks. Participants worked at 75 percent of their maximum heart rate on at least two activities including walking or using a stationary bicycle or treadmill.
Participants in the non-physical activity group participated in recreational or educational activities, such as a cooking class or a museum lecture, which met for about 45 minutes three to five times per week for 16 weeks.
The results: The people in the exercise group fared far better than the non-exercise group when it came to their sleep. Exercise not only improved their sleep quality — elevating them from being a “poor sleeper” to a “good sleeper” but they also reported feeling better. Their moods improved, and had more vitality and less daytime sleepiness.
I’ve long been an advocate for getting plenty of physical activity into your life to promote restful sleep. This study may have been among the first to examine the benefits of maintaining an aerobic regimen among insomniac women, but it certainly wasn’t the first to discover the profound role exercise has on supporting high-quality sleep.
Not everyone experiences the same sleep benefits from exercise, but people who suffer from insomnia aren’t usually the athletes and highly active individuals. (The only instance I’ve seen is where athletes over-train and for some reason have a hard time turning their mind off at night, or they are so used to exercising that on their “off days,” their body craves that exercise to help with sleep.) To the contrary, most people who complain of sleep problems lead sedentary lives and don’t practice a regular exercise routine.
Aerobic exercise has shown to aid sleep primarily by doing two things: 1) helping you fall asleep quicker; and 2) plunging you into deep (or delta) sleep for a longer period of time, which is where you need to be to feel refreshed and restored the next day. Other studies on people who participate in aerobic activities show that they have a tendency to secrete more growth hormone at night, which aids in repairing and rejuvenating the body. And let’s not forget the stress component to exercise: getting active tends to help us lower our stress levels, which allows up to calm down enough to welcome sleep!
One current reasoning behind exercise’s effects on sleep centers of the brain is the thermogenic hypothesis, which states that exercise promotes sleep by heating the body or brain. When you work out (it has to be an aerobic workout for at least 20 to 30 minutes), your body’s core temperature rises a couple of degrees (about two degrees Farenheit) and stays that way for about four to five hours. When it cools back down, your core temperature will decrease to a point lower than had you not worked out at all. And it’s this drop in body temperature that is theorized to promote falling asleep and gaining the deep, sound sleep your body needs.
Exercise your body to rest your body. It’s as simple as that.
Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

Importance of Sleep for all…

April 6th, 2010 admin

So for all you health conscious individuals out there, I wanted to remind you of the importance of your sleep habits. Your body needs sleep as it is a basic necessity of life. In fact, as important to our health and well-being as food, water, and air. When we sleep well, we wake up feeling refreshed, alert and ready to face the challenges of our day. When we don’t sleep well, our lives suffer in every area. Our relationships, jobs, productivity, health and safety (and for those around us) are all put at risk. The importance of sleep is taking a serious toll due to sleep loss or sleep disorders. In the past century we have reduced our average sleep time. Even though our society has changed, our brains and bodies have not. Sleep deprivation is affecting us all and we as a society as paying the price. Your body knows what it needs if you just listen to it, it’s a new year so let’s get started off right-SWEET DREAMS to all!