Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Epilepsy Brain Waves Converted Into Sound

Researchers in Australia have converted EEG reports from epileptic patients into sound making it easier to interpret when a seizure occurred.

Researchers at the University of Sydney have devised a way to convert brain wave signals into sound – a technique that could vastly improve the ability of patients and carers to monitor epilepsy.
The new method is known as sonification and it works by representing sequences of data values as sound.
Dr Alistair McEwan, who coordinated the team’s work, explained that an electroencephalogram (EEG) records and measures the brain’s electrical activity.
He revealed that brain wave signals associated with epilepsy repeat approximately five times per second – a frequency that is too low for the human ear to hear.
Sonification speeds up this signal by 60 times, so that normal brain activity becomes audible and sounds like background noise.
When a seizure occurs, they are easily identifiable “as they are associated with a rapid increase in pitch”, Dr McEwan said.
The sonification method is significantly easier to master than EEG, which is currently the best and most commonly used diagnostic tool for epilepsy.
It takes doctors at least a year to learn how to diagnose epilepsy properly, but the research team found that non-experts were capable of learning how to distinguish between seizures and common sounds after just two hours of training.
Dr Heba Khamis revealed: “They were asked to perform unaided audio detection of 644 hours of EEG data that contained 46 seizures.
“We found the participants’ accuracy in audio detection was very similar to the accuracy of visual detection. And training for visual detection requires a full year of training.”
The findings could have important implications for people with epilepsy across the world, including more than 500,000 patients in the UK, as it may help them to monitor and collect information about their condition.
For instance, parents often do not know whether or not their child has had a seizure in the night, making it difficult for doctors to determine the best medication regime.
By providing information on seizures, the technique could therefore help patients, carers and doctors gain better control over an individual’s epilepsy.
Read more here

Concussion protection from helmets: There is no safest football helmet

Regardless of how new or old and expensive or inexpensive a helmet is, they all provide the same level of protection from concussions.

Given the recent controversies over concussions in the NFL, you're probably a little leery about letting your kid play football. We can't blame you. Even future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner told the "Dan Patrick Show" last year that he'd be scared for his sons' safety if they followed their gridiron dreams.

Concussions are a problem for football players, from the pro ranks right on down to pony leaguers. Teenage boys suffer the most sports-related traumatic brain injuries – including concussions – each year, most of which stem from playing football or crashing bicycles. No question: There's risk involved in sending your son out to get pummeled at the 50-yard line, so you want him to sport the best helmet available. Just don't get lured into shelling out big bucks or pressuring his school to buy the latest and greatest helmet. According to a new study, safest does not mean newest, flashiest, or most expensive.

Researchers tracked more than 1,300 high school football players throughout the 2012 season and found that all helmets, regardless of brand, model, or whether they were shiny-new or up to 10 years old, offered the same protection from concussions. Which means that when one brand claims its helmets are safer than the competitors' – or that its spendiest model is the best you can get – it's basically an empty ploy for your pocketbook, says lead researcher Timothy McGuine of the University of Wisconsin Health Sports Medicine Center.

According to McGuine, football helmets are tested and strictly regulated by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. To make sure they stay in prime working order, all helmets sold to schools must be serviced by the manufacturer every two years and pitched after 10. The result: "Not one NOCSAE-approved helmet is bad," McGuine says. "They're all hard shells with slightly different padding and fixation systems, but to say one is better than another just isn't true."

Given his findings, McGuine says to rest easy when it comes to helmet quality and your kid's concussion risk. Yes, brain injuries are always possible in contact sports, but he's confident football players' heads are as safe as they can be with today's helmets, regardless of whether they cost $250 or $850.

Read more here

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

This article discusses what exactly sleep apnea is and why it is a dangerous condition.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may be unaware of the fact. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder whereby a person suffers from repeated interruptions to their sleep because of breathing difficulties. The patient typically stops breathing for around 10 seconds before the brain is forced to wake up and kick start the breathing process again. Most people with sleep apnea also snore heavily.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Unless your partner has told you that you snore and stop breathing on a regular basis, look out for the following signs of sleep apnea:
  • Sore throat in the morning
  • Feeling very tired when you wake up
  • Waking up repeatedly during the night gasping for air
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Men may suffer from impotence

Snoring is No Joke

Snoring is often considered to be a bit of a joke, but the reality is that excessive snoring and associated sleep apneais no joke whatsoever. It is bad for your health and extremely bad for your close relationships—most people find it very taxing to sleep with a partner who snores heavily and wakes up multiple times per night snorting and gasping for oxygen. Even if you felt romantic when you first went to bed with them, after a few nights of snoring and snorting, the passion will soon be long gone.

Health Problems Caused by Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is linked to a number of serious health problems, including:
  • Weight gain –   Gaining weight can lead to snoring, which in turn can exacerbate sleep apnea. Unfortunately, poor sleep affects the endocrine system and the body is more likely to crave sugary and starchy foods, which leads to weight gain. So it all becomes a vicious circle.
  • Heart disease – People with sleep apnea are much more likely to suffer from heart attacks. This could be as a result of low oxygen levels, but research has also found that some sleep apnea patients have irregular heart rhythms.
  • Strokes – Having sleep apnea puts you at greater risk of suffering from a stroke because oxygen deprivation has an effect on blood flow through the arteries and brain.
  • High blood pressure – Frequent patterns of interrupted sleep can play havoc with the endocrine system, which affects blood pressure. Oxygen deprivation can also cause spikes in blood pressure.
  • Type 2 diabetes – There is no definite link betweensleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, but at least 80% of diabetic patients suffer from sleep apnea.

Other Complications of Sleep Apnea

Aside from the serious health problems listed above, sleep apnea can be hazardous to your wellbeing in a number of other ways. As we have already mentioned, sleep apnea can lead to impotence in men, which is unlikely to be great for your long-term relationships. Excessive tiredness can also contribute to problems at work, or in extreme circumstances, directly cause car accidents if you end up falling asleep whilst driving.
If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it is a good idea to make an appointment for a full medical check-up. Ignoring the problem is not likely to make it go away, whereas if you seek treatment, you could be on the way towards obtaining a CPAP breathing machine and seeing a significant improvement in your sleep patterns.
Read more here

Study: Autistic children with low IQ could predict epilepsy

A recent study shows that autistic children who also have a low IQ are at a greater risk of developing epilepsy.

At first glance, IQ and epilepsy may seem to have no clinical relation whatsoever. Unlike the association between IQ and autism(ASD), which appears to manifest through cognitive, communication, and social impairments, the association between IQ and epilepsy is less evident. But according the results of a recent study, low IQ in children with ASD puts them at increased risk for epilepsy.
Emma W. Viscidi of the Department of Epidemiology of the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University in Rhode Island conducted a study comparing the IQs of children with autism to see if it could provide insight into which children were at risk for epilepsy. Using a sample of 5,815 children with ASD, Viscidi found that 12.5% had epilepsy. When she looked at adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, the rate increased to 26%.
The study revealed that the children with epilepsy had lower IQs than those without and that language impairment, functional regression, and severity of symptoms were all common in those with comorbid ASD and epilepsy. “The association between epilepsy and the majority of these characteristics appears to be driven by the lower IQ of participants with epilepsy,” said Viscidi. In fact, the risk of epilepsy decreased by nearly 50% with every one point increase in IQ.
Interestingly, Viscidi did not find gender differences in epilepsy rates. Aside from IQ, the other strongest predictor of epilepsy was older age, with children over the age of 10 having 2.5-fold increased risk of developing epilepsy. Viscidi is unsure if this is due to the longer duration of ASD, and if the chronicity increases the vulnerability for epilepsy. Or, as has been suggested by other research, the neurological deficits responsible for ASD are also responsible for epilepsy, predisposing ASD children for epilepsy. Regardless of the exact reason for the comorbidity, this research clearly shows that IQ could be an indicator of epilepsy and that clinicians treating children with ASD should be aware of this association early on.
Viscidi, E.W., Triche, E.W., Pescosolido, M.F., McLean, R.L., Joseph, R.M., et al. (2013). Clinical characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring epilepsy. PLoS ONE 8(7): e67797. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067797
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Medical uses and stigma associated with botox

Botox can be used to help with migraines, cerebral palsy, and overactive bladders. However, Botox users face the stigma attached with using a cosmetic product for medical purposes.

A cosmetic procedure popular among Hollywood stars can now be used to supposedly cure chronic migraines.
Botox, which is used to reverse the signs of aging is now being used to treat the neurological disorder.
More than 42,000 Kiwis suffer from chronic migraines every year and when it strikes the sufferer can be out of action for up to 72 hours.
But Botox has been proven to successfully treat the debilitating condition as well as other medical conditions.
"We can use it for cerebral palsy children, it can help them to walk again, for people who have spastic syndromes in their neck where they have chronic pain in their neck," Dr Garsing Wong from Sapphire Migraine Clinic told ONE News.
"It can even be injected into bladders, for people who over-active bladders now."
Botulinum Toxin or Botox is one of the most poisonous substances known to man, but the small dose used for treatment are less toxic than drugs you can buy over the counter.
Injections are applied to places that hold a lot of tension and through paralysing the muscle or relaxing it the treatment is able to reduce the pain at the trigger points.
But the stigma attached to Botox remains.
"The first thing, I think, that pops into your head are all those people in LA and stuff and their foreheads are literally frozen and first of you all you think; everyone's going to judge me," said Thea Lyle, Migraine Sufferer.
Ms Lyle said when she was first going to have botox to help with her migraines she was quite apprehensive about it.
But Ms Lyle is only one of hundreds of people who have had the procedure at the Sapphire Migraine Clinic.
For those who combine it with intensive physiotherapy there is a 90% success rate.
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Study: Epilepsy indicates a person is 11 times more likely to die prematurely

A study from the UK claims that a person with epilepsy is 11 times more likely to die prematurely than a person without epilepsy. A person with epilepsy is also more likely to commit suicide than a person without epilepsy.

Nine per cent of people with epilepsy died young compared with just 0.7 per cent of those without the condition, the 41-year research discovered.
And the findings, published in The Lancet, showed that people with both epilepsy and alcohol or drug disorders were 22 times more likely to die than someone who did not have either.
Someone who has epilepsy is also four times more likely to commit suicide than someone who does not, the team from Oxford University said.
Only half of the UK’s 600,000 epilepsy sufferers are seizure-free, and one in 20 people will have an epileptic seizure at some point in their life.
Dr Seena Fazel from Oxford University, who led the study, said standard checks could help reduce the risk of premature deaths in people with epilepsy.
Dr Fazel commented: "Our results have significant public health implications as around 70 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and emphasise that carefully assessing and treating psychiatric disorders as part as part of standard checks in persons with epilepsy could help reduce the risk of premature death in these patients.
"Our study also highlights the importance of suicide and non-vehicle accidents as major preventable causes of death in people with epilepsy."
The study, which tracked 69,995 people with epilepsy born in Sweden between 1954 and 2009 for a 41-year period, found suicides and accidents accounted for almost 16 per cent of all deaths in people with epilepsy.
Of these, three-quarters also had been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition such as depression. They were the most common cause of death not linked to the underlying disease process.
The researchers also found that the risk of premature death in people with epilepsy compared similarly to their unaffected siblings and the general population. This suggests that epilepsy is an independent cause of early deaths, the academics said.
Simon Wigglesworth, deputy chief executive of Epilepsy Action, said the study was cause for concern.
"The findings of this research are concerning and highlight the need for excellent healthcare for people with epilepsy", Mr Wigglesworth said.
"Getting the best possible support and treatment is important to help to reduce the likelihood of people with epilepsy experiencing mental illness. And a holistic approach to managing the condition should help ensure that people with epilepsy get the best possible treatment for both their epilepsy and any associated conditions.”
A separate study published last week warned that children whose mothers take anti-epilepsy drugs during their pregnancy face an increased risk of developing autism.
By the age of three, children were four times more likely to show traits associated with autism if their mothers had taken drugs to control their epileptic seizures.
According to Epilepsy Research UK, around two-thirds of epileptic seizures can be successfully treated with anti-epileptic drugs.
In the latest study, the causes of death were compared with 660,869 people of the same age and sex from the general population, and 81,396 unaffected siblings of people with epilepsy, to account for the potential influence of genetic or environmental factors.
While in some 60 per cent of cases the cause for epilepsy is not known, some types are inherited and common causes are brain damage, scarring of the brain tissue, a tumour, or chemical and hormonal imbalances in the body.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition defined as the tendency to have recurrent seizures. There are around 40 different sorts of seizure and a person can suffer from more than one type.
Every day 87 people in the UK are diagnosed with epilepsy, and many people who develop epilepsy when they are below the age of 20 will “grow out of it” in adult life, according to Epilepsy Action.
While only 52 per cent of people with epilepsy in this country are seizure-free, the charity estimates that with the right treatment seven in 10 could avoid seizures.
Read more here

Childhood obesity results in adult diseases in children

The recent increase in childhood obesity has resulted in more children with adult diseases such as high cholesterol, depression, and anxiety.

Childhood obesity has skyrocketed over the years, and now doctors are seeing children with adult diseases.

“We have seen a 300 percent increase in childhood obesity over the last 30 years,” said Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta Dr. Stephanie Walsh.

She told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie children are getting diseases pediatricians haven’t seen before, “Adult diseases, meaning type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea. These are diseases we didn't really see in children.”

Lucie spoke to a local teen who struggled with being overweight, but turned her life around. Drew Beaty, 16, credits karate, her parents and her pediatrician for helping her lead a healthier life. When Beaty was 11, she was considered overweight.
"I remember when I used to go shopping with my friends, I'd feel bad because they were all a size 4 or a size 2, and I was a size 12," Beaty said.
Beaty's father, Renard, took her to a pediatrician.   The doctor recommended the family keep a food diary to see what they were eating.  The results showed something no parent wants to hear.
"When she saw that diary, she said, ‘It's you.  You guys are the ones feeding your daughters,’" Renard Beaty said.  "We actually felt guilty.  We went from great parents to, ‘Oh my gosh, we are killing our kids.’"
Dr. Jeff Hopkins, a pediatrician at Northside Hospital Pediatrics, said what is happening is alarming.
"We've even had some children as young as 3 who have high enough cholesterol that it's something their family needs to a monitor," Hopkins said.
Hopkins’ colleague, Dr. Sally Marcus, said childhood obesity can have psychological impacts too, "Depression and anxiety.  Kids who are overweight also are bullied more often in school and on the playground."
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has started training pediatricians throughout metro Atlanta on how to approach parents who don't want to hear their child has a weight problem.
Hopkins and Marcus went through the training.
"So, the approach we take is similar to the approach to helping parents quit smoking," Marcus said.  “It's meet them where they are.  Find out what it would take to change their level of motivation.  So if they say, ‘I'm not really interested in making a change,’ then we may ask, ‘What would make you consider making a change?’"
It was a conversation that was hard for Renard Beaty to swallow, but one that has changed his life and his daughter's life.  Together, they have lost more than 80 pounds.
“It's a lifestyle adjustment you have to make.  But once you have that, you got it," he said.

Read more here

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poor sleep causes bickering between partners

A study shows that bickering with your partner and being argumentative is a negative result of poor sleep quality.

We all know that there are negative effects of poor sleeping habits. A lack of sleep can make people feel irritable, unhappy and sluggish.
Recent research has found that inadequate sleep causes increased worries about future events, and now, researchers have learned that insufficient sleep is also linked to relationship problems.
Strife in a relationship strongly affects the level of satisfaction with the relationship. In a 2011 study, Dr. E.M. Woodin of the University of Victoria, British Columbia reviewed 64 studies about conflict in couples.
She recorded behaviors shown during arguments: withdrawal, hostility, problem solving, distress and intimacy. Dr. Woodin also found that both men and women expressed lower relationship satisfaction when their arguments featured hostility, distress and withdrawal.
Conversely, those who demonstrated problem solving and intimacy during arguments felt satisfied with their relationships.

Lack of Sleep: Gateway to Unsatisfying Relationships

Two researchers at UC Berkeley, Amie Gordon and Serena Chen, have published a new study finding that problem solving skills and feelings of intimacy go out the window after a bad night’s sleep.
While some degree of conflict between romantic partners is usual and expected, partners who haven’t slept well are more likely to have hostile arguments that are marked by mutual misunderstanding.
After a poor night of sleep, both conflict resolution skills and the ability to correctly assess one’s partner’s emotions are minimized.
Drs. Gordon and Chen interviewed more than 100 couples who had romantic relationships. The participants self-reported their quality of sleep and the amount of discord they had with their partners. Generally, they described experiencing more arguments with their partners when they had not slept well during the previous night. Furthermore, they described feeling greater hostility toward their partners during arguments after they had experienced a poor night’s sleep.

Insomnia Damages Health and Relationships

The new findings concur with earlier studies. In 2011, the British Mental Health Foundation conducted a comprehensive study on the state of sleep in Britain. The report showed that people with insomnia were four times as likely as those without insomnia to have relationship problems. Moreover, they were three times as likely to show a lack of concentration, and three times as likely to feel depressed.According to the report, insomnia tends to follow a vicious cycle, with decreased sleep leading to poor mental health, and poor mental health causing poor sleep sleep. Insomnia is a disorder which is psychophysiological in nature, meaning it results from a combination of physiology, behavior, emotions and thoughts.
Thus, a poor night’s sleep can result from a physical problem, such as a stomach ache, but can quickly develop into a psychological problem. For example, someone who has suffered a few sleepless nights can become so anxious about not sleeping that he or she cannot fall asleep! Chronic sleeplessness can result from the depression and anxiety caused by poor sleep.
Dr. Dan Rothbam, lead researcher of the report, notes that the discordant relationships caused by poor sleep are likely to have long standing effects. The ability to maintain healthy relationships is vital to a person’s happiness. Relationships that are marked by hostility and misunderstanding create a susceptibility to depression. Not surprisingly, more than 80% of the study’s respondents who had insomnia reported regularly experiencing a low mood.

Sleep and Relationship Satisfaction: A Two-Way Street

Interestingly, just as poor sleep causes relationship strife, strife in relationships seems to cause poor sleep.
Brant P.Hasler and Wendy M. Troxel, researchers at  the University of Pittsburgh’s Sleep Medicine Institute, published a 2010 article about the relationship between sleep and couples’ relationships. For their study, they measured sleep quality in 29 heterosexual co-sleeping couples for 7 days.
The researchers then analyzed they degree to which sleep efficiency predicted the next day’s interactions, and vice versa.
Drs. Hasler and Troxel found that not only does poor sleep cause negative interactions, but women showed a strong correlation between daytime interactions and nighttime sleep. In other words, when they reported many positive interactions during the day, they slept well that night. When they reported an overall feeling of negative daytime interactions, they slept poorly that night. Women seem particularly sensitive to the highs and lows of relationships, and their quality of sleep depends on the quality of their relationships.

Relationships, Sleeping Habits, and Irritability

If you find your romantic relationships marred by hostility, irritability and poor problem solving, try improving the quality of your sleep. Begin by giving yourself a ‘sleep window’ of at least seven hours a night, and limit computer and television use in the hours leading up to bedtime. Getting adequate sleep will make you happier, healthier, and more likely to maintain a strong relationship.
Gordon, A. and Chen, S. The Role of Sleep in Interpersonal Conflict: Do Sleepless Nights Mean Worse Fights? (2013). Social Psychological and Personality Science.Accessed on July 18, 2013.
Robotham, D. Sleep Matters. (2011). Mental Health Foundation. Accessed on July 18, 2013.
Hasler, B. and Troxel, W. Couples’ Nighttime Sleep Efficiency and Concordance: Evidence for Bidirectional Associations with Daytime Relationship Functioning. (2010). Psychosomatic Medicine. Accessed on July 18, 2013.
Woodin, E.M. A two-dimensional approach to relationship conflict: meta-analytic findings(2011). Journal of Family Psychology. Accessed on July 18, 2013.
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Autism treatment found beneficial regardless of treatment model

A new study shows that children who receive early treatment for autism benefit regardless of the approach or treatment model used.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who receive high-quality early intervention benefit developmentally regardless of the treatment model used -- a surprising result that may have important implications for special-education programs and school classrooms across the country.
"This is the first study designed to compare long-standing comprehensive treatment models for young children with ASD," said Brian Boyd, a fellow at UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) and one of the study's co-principal investigators. Boyd also is an assistant professor in occupational science and occupational therapy in UNC's School of Medicine.
"We know that more children are being diagnosed with ASD each year, and that it can cost an estimated $3.2 million to treat each child over a lifetime. Understanding that a child can benefit from a high-quality program, rather than a specialized program, may help reduce those costs by decreasing the need for teachers and other school practitioners to be trained to deliver multiple specialized services," Boyd said. He stressed it remains important to ensure educators are trained to provide high-quality programs that meet the special behavioral, communication and other needs of children with ASD.
Previous research has shown that when children with ASD have access to early intervention via treatment programs, they improve developmentally. Until now, however, debate has persisted over which approach to use, said Boyd. The study appeared in the June issue of Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Two frequently used comprehensive treatment models have a long history: LEAP (Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their Parents) and TEACCH (now known only by its acronym).
FPG's study examined the relative effects of the LEAP and TEACCH school-based comprehensive treatment models when compared to each other and to special-education programs that do not use a specific model. The multisite study took place only in high-quality classrooms and enrolled 74 teachers and 198 3- to 5-year-olds in public school districts.
The study found that children made gains over the school year regardless of the classroom's use of LEAP, TEACCH or no specific comprehensive treatment model. "Each group of children showed significant positive change in autism severity, communication and fine- motor skills," said Kara Hume, FPG scientist and co-author. "No statistically significant differences were found among models, which challenged our initial expectations -- and likely the field's."
"This study may shift the field's thinking about comprehensive treatment models designed for young children with ASD," said co-author Samuel L. Odom, FPG's director and the study's principal investigator. "Perhaps it's not the unique features of the models that most contribute to child gains but the common features of the models that most influence child growth."
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Veterans with PTSD have less nightmares after sleep apnea treatment

A study shows that veterans who have PTSD have fewer nightmares after receiving sleep apnea treatment.

For military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep apnea, treatment with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, reduces their nightmares, a new study finds.

Researchers reviewed the medical records of U.S. veterans who had been treated in a VA medical center sleep clinic between 2011 and 2012. The investigators looked at the average number of nightmares per week before treatment and up to six months after CPAP was prescribed for the veterans.

The use of CPAP led to a significant reduction in the number of nightmares, which was most connected to how well veterans complied with the treatment.

"Patients with PTSD get more motivated to use CPAP once they get restful sleep without frequent nightmares, and their compliance improves," principal investigator Dr. Sadeka Tamanna, medical director of the sleep disorders laboratory at G.V. (Sonny) VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., said in an American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release.

The findings were recently published online in the journal Sleep and presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, in Baltimore.

"One out of six veterans suffers from PTSD, which affects their personal, social and productive life," Tamanna said. "Nightmares are one of the major symptoms that affect their daily life, and prevalence of [sleep apnea] is also high among PTSD patients and can trigger their nightmares."

CPAP, which is a common treatment for sleep apnea, helps keep the airway open by providing a stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep. PTSD symptoms such as nightmares usually start soon after a traumatic event but may not show up until months or years later, according to the National Center for PTSD of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Study: Sleep restriction reduces insulin sensitivity in boys

A study shows that short periods of sleep restriction in boys leads to reduced insulin sensitivity which can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, obesity, and other health issues.


Short sleep duration has been linked to impaired glucose metabolism in many experimental studies. Moreover, studies have reported indications of an increased metabolic stress following sleep restriction.


We aimed to investigate the effects of partial sleep deprivation on markers of glucose metabolism. Additionally, we aimed to investigate if short sleep duration induces a state of endocrine stress.


A randomized crossover design, with 2 experimental conditions: 3 consecutive nights of short sleep (SS, 4 h/night) and long sleep (LS, 9 h/night) duration.

Subjects and Measurements:

In 21 healthy, normal-weight male adolescents (mean ± SD age: 16.8 ± 1.3 y) we measured pre- and post-prandial glucose, insulin, C-peptide, and glucagon concentrations. Furthermore, we measured fasting cortisol, 24-h catecholamines, and sympathovagal balance.


Fasting insulin was 59% higher (P = 0.001) in the SS than the LS condition as was both fasting (24%, P < 0.001) and post-prandial (11%, P = 0.018) C-peptide. Pre- and post-prandial glucose and glucagon were unchanged between conditions. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index was 65% higher (P = 0.002) and the Matsuda index was 28% lower (P = 0.007) in the SS condition compared to the LS condition. The awakening cortisol response and 24-h norepinephrine were not affected by sleep duration, whereas 24-h epinephrine was 24% lower (P = 0.013) in the SS condition. Neither daytime nor 24-h sympathovagal balance differed between sleep conditions. Short wave sleep was preserved in the SS condition.


Short-term sleep restriction is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity in healthy normal-weight adolescent boys. There were no indications of endocrine stress beyond this.


Klingenberg L; Chaput JP; Holmbäck U; Visby T; Jennum P; Nikolic M; Astrup A; Sjödin A. Acute Sleep Restriction Reduces Insulin Sensitivity in Adolescent Boys. SLEEP 2013;36(7):1085-1090.
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Study claims poor sleep during pregnancy can cause birth complications

Not getting enough quality sleep during pregnancy can lead to birth complications such as low birth weight. It is important to treat sleep issues during pregnancy early.

Poor sleep quality and quantity during pregnancy can disrupt normal immune processes and lead to lower birth weights and other complications, finds a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study published today in the journalPsychosomatic Medicine. Women with depression also are more likely than non-depressed women to suffer from disturbed sleep and to experience immune system disruption and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
"Our results highlight the importance of identifying sleep problems in early pregnancy, especially in women experiencing depression, since sleep is a modifiable behavior," said Michele Okun, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Pitt's School of Medicine and lead author of the report. "The earlier that sleep problems are identified, the sooner physicians can work with pregnant women to implement solutions."
Adequate and high-quality sleep, both in pregnant and non-pregnant women as well as men, is essential for a healthy immune system. Pregnancy often is associated with changes in sleep patterns, including shortened sleep, insomnia symptoms and poor sleep quality. These disturbances can exacerbate the body's inflammatory responses and cause an overproduction of cytokines, which act as signal molecules that communicate among immune cells.
"There is a dynamic relationship between sleep and immunity, and this study is the first to examine this relationship during pregnancy as opposed to postpartum," added Dr. Okun.
While cytokines are important for numerous pregnancy-related processes, excess cytokines can attack and destroy healthy cells and cause destruction of tissue in pregnant women, thereby inhibiting the ability to ward off disease. For expectant mothers, excess cytokines also can disrupt spinal arteries leading to the placenta, cause vascular disease, lead to depression and cause pre-term birth.
Previous studies conducted postpartum have shown higher inflammatory cytokine concentrations among women who experienced adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia and pre-term birth. While infection accounts for half of these adverse outcomes, researchers discovered that behavioral processes such as disturbed sleep also may play a role, given the relationship between sleep disturbance and immune function.
Furthermore, higher concentrations of inflammatory cytokines also are found in depressed individuals.
The study is the first to evaluate all factors -- inflammatory cytokines, depression and insomnia -- and their possible combined effect on pregnant women. The study examined nearly 170 women, both depressed and not depressed, at 20 weeks of pregnancy and analyzed their sleep patterns and cytokine production levels over the course of 10 weeks (pregnancy-related physiological adaptations are in flux prior to 20 weeks).
The findings reveal:
  • Women with depression and poor sleep are at greatest risk for adverse birth-related outcomes. Cytokine levels may be one biological pathway through which this is accomplished, particularly with regard to preterm birth.
  • Any shift in immunity, such as poor sleep and/or depression, could set the stage for increased risk for adverse outcomes.
  • At 20 weeks, depressed pregnant women have higher levels of inflammatory cytokines compared to non-depressed women.
  • At 30 weeks of pregnancy, differences in cytokines among depressed and non-depressed women were negligible, likely because as pregnancy progresses, levels of cytokines normally increase.
Read more here

Brain wave test to diagnose ADHD approved by FDA

The FDA approved a brain wave test to diagnose ADHD, one of the only objective tests for this purpose.

The first brain wave test that could help diagnose children and teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The device can be used in patients between the ages of 6 and 17 as part of a complete psychological examination to either help confirm an ADHD diagnosis or bolster a doctor's decision that more testing for ADHD or other disorders is needed, the FDA said in a news release Monday.
Called the NEBA system, the 20-minute noninvasive test uses an electroencephalogram (EEG) to calculate the ratio of two brain wave frequencies, called theta and beta, which studies have shown is higher in children and teens with ADHD.
One expert offered a word of caution about the device.
"For clinicians and researchers interested in ADHD, an objective diagnostic test that is accurate, sensitive and specific has been one of the 'holy grails' which has long been sought," said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental & behavioral pediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
However, he added, "it is doubtful that this EEG test newly approved by the FDA will be as accurate and reliable as clinicians and families would ideally want.
"Given concerns among the public and some professionals about the steady increase in the number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with ADHD, it would be wonderful if clinicians had an objective test to assist in the diagnostic process," Adesman said. "Although this new EEG test may prove helpful to clinicians, neither parents nor professionals will be able to rely upon it as a standalone 'litmus test' for whether a child has ADHD."
Adesman also noted that the FDA has approved other "objective" diagnostic tests for ADHD that have not become a common part of diagnosing the disorder, and the fate of the NEBA system remains to be seen.
The device, made by NEBA Health of Augusta, Ga., is already used to assess sleep issues, measure unconsciousness, diagnose side effects from head injuries and monitor the brain during surgery, according to CBS News.
The FDA's approval of the device was based on a company-funded study of 275 children and teens with attention or behavioral problems. The study showed that the test, when used with standard diagnostic criteria, helped doctors more accurately diagnose the disorder when compared to a doctor's exam alone, the agency said in its statement.
"Diagnosing ADHD is a multistep process based on a complete medical and psychiatric exam," Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the news release. "The NEBA System along with other clinical information may help health care providers more accurately determine if ADHD is the cause of a behavioral problem."
ADHD is a common childhood disorder. Nine percent of American teens have ADHD and the average age of diagnosis is 7, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and behavioral problems. Treatments for ADHD include medication, behavioral modifications and therapy.
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Recent estimates claim up to 70 million Americans have sleep disorder

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) claims that up to 70 million Americans are affected by sleep disorders with up to 50% of these sleep disorders being chronic conditions.

How often do you get enough sleep? You might say that your lifestyle doesn’t permit you to get very much. For millions of Americans, it’s not a choice; researchers say that sleep disorders are becoming an increasingly common health issue in the US, with an estimated 70 million Americans suffering the consequences of not being able to get enough rest.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) found that of the 70 million sleep disorder sufferers, nearly 50 percent had chronic disorders. Experts at Mind Body Spirit Wellness Center, a Georgia-based clinic specializing in alternative well-being methods, have given their best tips for reducing stress and harmonizing mind, body and spirit to get the most out of bedtime.
While the modern and hectic lifestyle of today’s working adult might place sleep and quality rest low on the list of priorities, it’s important to remember just how essential a good night’s rest actually is. The average adult needs seven or eight hours’ sleep to function normally – those that go without, risk disturbances to their emotional well-being, their ability to cope with stress and even digestive issues.
Wellness expert Dr. Maiysha Clairborne understands the importance of healthy sleep as well as the role routine plays within a good sleep pattern. She says: "It’s essential to carve out a bedtime routine that works for you and your body – it’s the best way to get yourself ready to make the most of your resting hours." She suggests setting boundaries for the bedroom and banning smartphones and tablets from use at bedtime, as these give out an artificial light which can trick our bodies into believing that it’s actually daytime. This prolongs the process of falling asleep and can encourage light, shallow sleep rather than the deep REM sleep that we need in order to feel revived and recharged in the morning.
Diet also plays a role in a successful sleep habit. Avoiding food with high levels of sugar and caffeine-laden drinks is a good for health in general, but avoiding consumption of these in the early evening is especially important. The ‘high’ created by these can play havoc with natural sugar and energy levels, so it’s important to wind down naturally in order to get to sleep.
Regular exercise is another example of good health practice that has sleep benefits. While it can boost energy levels in the day, it can also help to create a natural sleepiness that kicks in when you’re ready to sleep. Gentle stretching and yoga can also be beneficial in the hours before going to sleep.
Acupuncture holds benefits for those who need extra help with gehttp://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10929581.htmtting quality sleep. Dr Clairborne adds: "Acupuncture can have a really positive effect on those with insomnia and can help relieve anxiety, which can play a big role in sleep disorders." This is just one of the many treatments offered by the experts at MBS Wellness Clinic, which also specializes in stress management, weight loss and well-being life coaching.
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