Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting to bed early helps mental health

Going to sleep early can help a person's mental health.

There are many benefits of going to bed early- and now, a team of researchers have found how this teeny tiny habit could have a positive impact on not just your physical health, but mental health as well.

Researchers from Binghamton University have found a possible connection between sleeping disorders and anxiety. It has been found that depression, anxiety, stress and obsessive compulsive disorders may cause heavy psychological traffic that could have an individual clinging too much to the past.

This new study, which took into consideration one hundred young adults, asked them to fill out questionnaires and carry out certain computerized tasks while the researchers assessed the extent of their obsessive behavior and thinking and worrying with respect to it. The study subject included individuals having different sleeping habits- some of them were night owls, while others had regular sleeping hours.

They found that individuals who slept less or went to bed late had signs of negative thinking as compared to those who slept early. While repetitive negative thinking isn’t a disorder as such, it does increase the risk of several anxiety disorders including depression and stress.

While the reason behind this phenomenon is unclear, scientists are making assumptions to decode it all. They have noted that sleeping late at night tends to disrupt the biological clock of the body, which also plays a negative impact on the levels of certain chemicals in our body.

These kinds of irregular sleeping patterns tend to upset the chemical production in the brain as well as other organs, even if you manage to get your much needed 8 hours of sleep a day.

Read more here

Increase in concussions seen in Ontario's children

A study showed that concussions in Ontario's children significantly increased between 2003 and 2010.

The number of children and youth treated for concussions in both emergency departments and physician's offices in Ontario increased significantly between 2003 and 2010, with falls, hockey and skating injuries identified as the leading causes of pediatric concussion, according to a new joint study out of York University and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).
The study," A population-based study of pediatric emergency department and office visits for concussions from 2003 to 2010," published in the journal Paediatrics & Child Health, analyzed all visits related to a concussion by school-aged youth (three to 18 years) in Ontario from 2003 to 2010.
"This study is the first to examine pediatric concussions evaluated in both emergency departments and physicians' offices," says York University Professor Alison Macpherson, the study's lead author. "By examining all of the pediatric concussions evaluated in multiple facilities, we were able to minimize the issue of under-reporting and obtain a more accurate number of concussions treated in Ontario."
Between 2003 and 2010, researchers found a total of 88,688 pediatric concussions were treated in either an emergency department or a physician's office, and there was a significant trend in both locations. The total rate of concussions per 100,000 increased from 466.7 to 754.3 (for boys), and from 208.6 to 440.7 (for girls) during the study period. The numbers also showed that over time more children were being evaluated in physician's offices than emergency departments.
When the sources of concussion were broadly examined, falls were found to be the most common cause of concussion in an emergency department, representing 34 per cent of all emergency department visits, followed closely by exposure to force (25.5 per cent) and motor vehicle collisions (12.3 per cent). When specific causes were examined in more detail, hockey and skating -- common sports in North America -- were the most common causes of concussions that were treated in an emergency department.
"Our findings reinforced that falls in general are the most common cause of pediatric concussions, and that evidence-based prevention initiatives to help reduce the incidence of concussion are warranted -- particularly in sports and recreation programs," says senior scientist and chief science officer at ICES, Dr. Astrid Guttmann, the study's senior author. "Sports-related concussions can be minimized by taking preventive action, such as reducing body checking in hockey or wearing a helmet while cycling."
Macpherson says that future studies can attempt to differentiate between the true incidence of concussions and an increase in those seeking a health evaluation due to increased awareness of concussion and subsequent health consequences.
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Monday, December 08, 2014

Sleep apnea in children and behavioral problems

This article explains the link between sleep apnea in children and behavioral problems such as ADD and ADHD.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most-commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children. The current standard of care for youngsters with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and ADHD is prescription medication such as Adderall, Ritalin and Dexadrine. These medications may have concerning side effects such as reduced height and weight, cardiovascular effects, tics, evidence of carcinogenic and reproductive effects, and substance abuse.

Sadly, many of these children are being misdiagnosed. A child who exhibits behavior problems or difficulty paying attention at home or school may actually be suffering from another disorder, an underlying undiagnosed sleep-related breathing disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Dr. Stephen Sheldon, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University School of Medicine and director of the Sleep Medicine Center says, “There are a number of sleep disorders that if looked at, an attention deficit problem can be identified. If you take a large number of children that have attention deficit and you evaluate them for sleep-disordered breathing, about a fifth to a quarter of those youngsters will have pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.”

He continues, “The most important aspect of evaluating a child for ADHD or other attention problems is to do a sleep evaluation in every single child. One hundred percent of these children need a sleep evaluation.”


Nighttime symptoms of youngsters with sleep-related breathing disorders are: snoring, bruxism, mouth breathing, bed wetting, frequent awakenings, nightmares, insomnia and physically restless sleep. Resulting daytime symptoms and findings are neurocognitive impairment, headaches, hyperactivity, behavioral issues, tiredness and poor school performance.

Lack of sleep and/or poor-quality sleep affects a child’s physical and emotional health, cognitive function, behavior and academic success. Parents, teachers, counselors or anyone concerned with the growth and development, academic performance, or health and well-being of a child must have greater awareness of sleep issues. Sleep screening and interventions to improve sleep must become part of every child’s routine clinical exam.

Early diagnosis and treatment of pediatric OSA is vital if we are going to have an impact on the epidemic of OSA in our country. Today, research indicates that one in four adults in this country suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. Of these, 80 percent remain undiagnosed and untreated. Although there is a growing awareness and therefore an increase in the number of adults treated for OSA, the key is prevention and early intervention.

A YouTube video, “Finding Conner Deegan,” tells a mother’s story of her struggling son who was labeled a “troubled child” early in his life. Having exhausted every resource, potential diagnosis and treatment known to his medical community, there appeared no other options. But through his mother’s perseverance, love, relentless search and striving to understand her son, her prayers were answered. Conner, in fact, suffered from undiagnosed pediatric OSA. He simply couldn’t breathe!

Parents, teachers, counselors and doctors need to be made aware of the need to screen children for sleep-related breathing disorders and understand the significant role timely diagnosis and thorough treatment play in the healthy growth and development of our children.

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Can your mattress type influence your sleep quality? Can your mattress reduce your back pain? Maybe.

A patient asked me if there is any evidence that a certain mattress type can help their pain. In doing a little research, I found some evidence (admittedly weak on when judged from an academic standpoint) that...

Yes...a NEW, medium firm mattress that conforms to your sleeping position MAY help.

Other articles show evidence for lumbar support while sleeping.


J Chiropr Med.
 2009 Mar;8(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2008.09.002.

Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems.



This study compared sleep quality and stress-related symptoms between older beds (>/=5 years) and new bedding systems.


A convenience sample of healthy subjects (women = 30; men = 29) with minor musculoskeletal sleep-related pain and compromised sleep, but with no clinical history of disturbed sleep, participated in the study. Subjects recorded back discomfort and sleep quality upon waking for 28 consecutive days in their own beds (baseline) and for 28 consecutive days (post) on a new bedding system using visual analog scales. Following baseline measures, participant's beds were replaced by new, medium-firm beds, and they again rated their sleep quality and back discomfort. Stress was assessed by a modified stress questionnaire.


Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to treat sleep quality and efficiency and factored responses of the stress items. Results indicated that the subjects' personal bedding systems average 9.5 years old and were moderately priced. Significant (P < .01) improvements were found between pre- and posttest mean values in sleep quality and efficiency. Continued improvement was noted for each of the 4-week data gathering period. Stress measures yielded similar positive changes between pre- and posttest mean values.


Based on these data, it was concluded that, in this population, new bedding systems increased sleep quality and reduced back discomfort, factors that may be related to abatement of stress-related symptoms.

Subjective rating of perceived back pain, stiffness and sleep quality following introduction of medium-firm bedding systems.



To compare personal and new bedding systems between subjects with reported high and low base line sleep quality.


A convenience sample of healthy subjects (women = 30; men = 29) with no clinical history of disturbed sleep participated in the study. Subjects recorded perceived back discomfort and stiffness, sleep quality and comfort, and sleep efficiency upon waking for 28 consecutive days in their own beds (baseline) and for 28 consecutive days (post) on a new bedding system. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to treat sleep data.


Analysis revealed significant differences between pre- and post means in all areas for both high and low sleep quality groups. Analysis of sleep efficiency also yielded significant differences between, but not among pre- and post means. Improvement of sleep comfort and quality became more prominent with time (from wk 1 to 4 post observation).


Similar significant benefits of new, medium- firm bedding systems can occur for those reporting both good and poor current sleep quality and variables such as age, weight, height, and body mass index are independent of such improvements.
Appl Ergon. 2010 Dec;42(1):91-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2010.05.004. Epub 2010 Jun 26.

Effect of prescribed sleep surfaces on back pain and sleep quality in patients diagnosed with low back and shoulder pain.


The purpose of this study was to assess sleep quality and comfort of participants diagnosed with low back pain and stiffness following sleep on individually prescribed mattresses based on dominant sleeping positions. Subjects consisted of 27 patients (females, n=14; males, n=13; age 44.8 yrs ± SD 14.6, weight 174 lb. ± SD 39.6, height 68.3 in. ± SD 3.7) referred by chiropractic physicians for the study. For the baseline (pretest) data subjects recorded back and shoulder discomfort, sleep quality and comfort by visual analog scales (VAS) for 21 days while sleeping in their own beds. Subsequently, participants' beds were replaced by medium-firm mattresses specifically layered with foam and latex based on the participants' reported prominent sleeping position and they again rated their sleep comfort and quality daily for the following 12 weeks. Analysis yielded significant differences between pre- and post means for all variables and for back pain, we found significant (p<0 .01="" 4="" 8-12="" additionally="" and="" are="" back="" based="" between="" both="" by="" chronic="" concluded="" days="" decreased="" differences="" discomfort="" experiencing="" first="" improvement="" in="" increase="" indeed="" indicating="" is="" it="" mattresses.="" mattresses="" mean="" nbsp="" new="" number="" of="" on="" p="" pain="" per="" physical="" poor="" position.="" possible="" posttest="" progressive="" quality="" reduce="" related="" replacing="" significantly.="" sleep="" sleeping="" stiffness="" surfaces="" that="" the="" those="" thus="" to="" was="" week="" weeks="" while="" with="">
Copyright © 2009. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Earlier school start time can mean more car crashes

Teens with an earlier school start time get into more car crashes which can indicate these teens are sleep deprived due to the earlier school start time.

A new study suggests that teen drivers who start class earlier in the morning are involved in significantly more motor vehicle accidents than peers with a later high school start time. The results underscore the importance of the "Awake at the Wheel" campaign of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.
Results show that the weekday crash rate for teen drivers during the 2009 to 2010 school year was about 29 percent higher in Chesterfield County, Va., where high school classes began at 7:20 a.m., than in adjacent Henrico County, Va., where classes started at 8:45 a.m. Similar results were found for the 2010 to 2011 school year, when the weekday crash rate for 16-17 year old teens in Chesterfield County was about 27 percent higher than for those in Henrico County. In contrast, there was no difference in adult crash rates in the two counties for either year. A secondary analysis evaluating the causes and types of crashes found that Chesterfield County adolescents had a significantly higher rate of run-off-road crashes, which is a common feature of drowsy driving accidents.
"There are more and more data suggesting that insufficient sleep is common in our teens and that early high school start times are a contributor to teens' reduced sleep," said principal investigator and lead author Dr. Robert Vorona, associate professor in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. "Insufficient sleep appears to have deleterious consequences such as decrements in mood and increased risk taking, impaired academics and increased crash rates."
The results corroborate the findings of a previous study by Vorona's team that evaluated teen crash rates from 2007 to 2008. Results of the current study are published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
"When high school classes begin early in the morning, we ask teens to shine when their biological clock tells them to sleep," said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, a national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Project. "Many do not get adequate sleep as a result. Smarter school start times, that are more consistent with sleep needs, will improve students' safety, overall health, mood and academic performance."
Recently the Healthy Sleep Project launched the "Awake at the Wheel" campaign to increase public awareness of the risks of drowsy driving. More details are available at
The study involved an analysis of data provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. During both school years there were more than 520 motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers in Chesterfield County and more than 320 teen crashes in Henrico County.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adolescents get a little more than nine hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and daytime alertness during the critical transition from childhood to adulthood. The AASM advises parents and local school boards to work together to implement high school start times that allow teens to get the healthy sleep they need to meet their full potential.
A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that drowsy driving may cause 328,000 motor vehicle accidents and 6,400 fatal crashes on U.S. roads each year. Previous data analysis by AAA also shows that the prevalence of drowsy driving crashes is highest among drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years.
Read more here

Autism diagnoses may miss minority kids

Autism diagnoses may miss minority kids, a new study claims.

Black and Hispanic students are less likely to be identified as having autism than white students, a new study reveals.
Researchers analyzed autism identification rates at schools across the United States between 2000 and 2007. These rates reflect how many students have been identified by schools -- not necessarily a doctor -- as having autism.
Rates among black, Hispanic and white students increased in all states and the District of Columbia, but the overall increase was smaller than predicted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rates among black students climbed in all states except Alaska and Montana, and rates among Hispanic students increased in all states except Kentucky, Louisiana and the District of Columbia, the investigators found.
Rate increases among black and Hispanic students were much smaller than among whites, according to the study in the November issue of theJournal of Special Education.
"Nearly every state that had proportional representation of students in 2000 underidentified black and Hispanic students in 2007," Jason Travers, assistant professor of special education at the University of Kansas, and colleagues, wrote.
"Although there is no firm epidemiological evidence that race is predictive of autism, we found substantial racial differences in the ways U.S. schools identify students with autism," they added.
The findings suggest that black and Hispanic students may not be getting the same level of autism services as white students, the researchers said in a university news release.
The racial differences suggest a number of problems, including unequal access to autism services, according to Travers.
"These data depict what's going on in schools," he said in the news release. "Whether or not they match with clinical diagnoses, the numbers can be associated with a variety of costs. They tell us about the human costs, financial resources dedicated to services, administrative costs, community costs and many others."
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Magnets in helmets may help reduce concussions

This article explains how adding magnets to football helmets could help reduce concussions by using a magnet's the repulsive forces.

Adding magnets to football helmets could reduce the risk of concussions, new research suggests. When two players collide, the magnets in their helmets would repel each other, reducing the force of the collision.

“All helmet design companies and manufacturers have the same approach, which is to try to disperse the impact energy after the impact’s already occurred,” neuroscientist Raymond Colello said November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

The magnets, he says, would put a brake on the impact before it happens.

The idea hasn’t been tested yet in helmets with real players, said Judy Cameron, a neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh. “But a lot of thought has gone into it, and the data that was shown about the ability of the magnets to actually repel each other looked extremely promising.” 

On the field, football players can run at nearly 20 miles per hour and can experience up to 150 g’s of force upon impact. Concussions readily occur at impacts greater than 100 g’s. Every year there are 100,000 concussions at all levels of play among the nearly 1.2 million people who play football in the United States.

Colello, of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, is testing magnets made in China from the rare-earth element neodymium. They are the most powerful commercially available magnets and weigh about one-third of a pound each (football helmets weigh from 3.5 to 5.5 pounds). When placed one-fourth of an inch away from each other, two magnets with their same poles face-to-face exert nearly 100 pounds of repulsive force.

Colello tested his magnets with the same procedure that the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment uses to evaluate football helmets. He placed magnets on the front of a weight and let it drop from various heights onto another magnet. The heights Colello tested (between 6 inches and 4 feet) represent the impact forces athletes normally experience on the playing field.

“At 48 inches, if you dropped a standard helmet and it hit a stationary object, it would create 120 g’s of force,” says Colello. “With the magnets we drop that below 100 g’s.”

The magnets would complement existing helmet safety features. Colello speculates that adding magnets to a helmet would raise the price by $50 to $100. (Professional helmets today can cost several hundred dollars.) Amateur players, who will not experience impacts as crushing as pros do, could use helmets with cheaper, less powerful magnets.

Though the magnets do attract metallic objects, the National Football League prohibits athletes from wearing jewelry during games. Another safety concern is whether the magnets are dangerous to have near human heads. Colello says that a 30 minute- to one-hour MRI procedure produces magnetic fields 10 to 30 times as strong as those in helmet magnets.

Colello is now awaiting customized arc-shaped magnets that can be fitted inside helmets so he can begin field-testing them. First he will run crash-test dummy heads donning the helmets on a zip line; when the heads collide, accelerometers will measure the linear and rotational forces caused by the impact.

If the magnets make it through field tests, they could theoretically reduce the relative risk of concussions by up to 80 percent without changing the appearance or intensity of the game, Colello says.

Read more here