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Archive for the ‘Insomnia’ Category

The AP (10/30) reports ( http://tinyurl.com/sleepless-in-america) on “the first government study to monitor state-by-state differences in sleeplessness.” The CDC study found that West Virginia led the country in sleeplessness, with a lacinsomnia1k of sleep “about double the national rate, perhaps a side effect of health problems, like obesity, experts said.” The study found that “nearly one in five West Virginians said they didn’t get a single good night’s sleep in the previous month. The national average was about one in 10, according to the federal health survey conducted last year.” Tennessee, Kentucky, and Oklahoma also had high rates of sleeplessness. Healthday (10/29, Reinberg) explained that the survey, appearing in the Oct. 30 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, included responses of 403,981 adults across the US. It found that “11.1 percent said they did not get enough sleep every day of the month.” Moreover, “women (12.4 percent) were more likely than men (9.9 percent) to report not getting enough sleep. There were ethnic differences, with blacks (13.3 percent) saying they got less sleep compared with all other ethnic groups.”

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sleepyBBC News (10/21) reported, “Several studies have…shown that sleep is essential for memory function.” Now, a paper appearing in Nature reveals that University of Pennsylvania scientists have discovered that “sleep deprivation disturbed the molecular pathway in the part of the brain involved in memory and learning” — the hippocampus. And, mice suffering from a lack of sleep “had increased levels of the enzyme PDE4, and reduced levels of the molecule cAMP.”  According to WebMD (10/21, Hitti), cAMP “is involved in forming new memories.” But, after administering “rolipram, an experimental” medication “that blocks PDE4,” investigators noted that rodents “aced [a] memory test.” Although the researchers “aren’t recommending rolipram for sleep-deprived people,” they maintain that their work “shows that ‘it may be possible’ to make” medicines targeting “PDE4, and that such” medications “may prove useful in the treatment of the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation.”

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dna The New York Times (8/14, A11, Parker-Pope) reports that scientists at the University of California-San Francisco “have found a genetic mutation in two people who need far less sleep than average, a discovery that might open the door to understanding human sleep patterns and lead to treatments for insomnia and other sleep disorders.” Even though the study population was considerably small, “the power of the research stems from the fact that the shortened sleep effect was replicated in mouse and fruit-fly studies,” prompting one expert to refer to study as “landmark.”  Those who claim that six hours of sleep is all they need to get by may, at first, be encouraged by the research, according to USA Today (8/14, Weise). Still, “the gene is vanishingly rare in humans, found in less than three percent of people.” What’s more, there are “consequences of chronic sleep deprivation,” which has “been linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, deficiencies in short-term memory, focus, and attention. It’s also tied to depressed mood and a decrease in the ability to control appetite.    This is of note, according to the NIH, because “sleep disorders and deprivation affect 50 to 70 million Americans, account for about $15 billion in medical expenses, and cost industry $50 billion in lost productivity,” Bloomberg News (8/14, Waters) reports.  Aiming to better understand sleep issues, the team in California has spent much time and energy hunting for “genes related to how and when people sleep,” the AP (8/14, Neergaard) notes. “In 2001, they discovered a mutation that puts its carriers’ sleep patterns out of whack: These people regularly go to bed around 7:30 p.m. and wake around 3:30 a.m.” Their current paper in Science, however, focuses on sleep length. Specifically, investigators analyzed the DNA of a “69-year-old mother and her 44-year-old daughter [who] typically go to bed around 10 pm, and Mom rises around 4 and her daughter around 4:30, with no apparent ill effects.” That data were compared to other family members who had “typical sleep patterns. Blood tests showed the women harbored a mutation in a gene named DEC2 that’s involved in regulation of circadian rhythms, the body’s clock.” Notably, a “check of more than 250 stored DNA samples didn’t find another carrier.   “Further research found that mice with the mutation slept less and recovered more quickly after being deprived of sleep,” HealthDay (8/13, Dotinga) reported. “It’s not clear, however, how the mutation actually affects sleep patterns.”

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insThe New York Times (8/11, D5, Schaffer) reported, “Web-based programs to treat insomnia are proliferating, and two small but rigorous studies suggest that online applications based on cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective.” The University of Virginia’s “SHUTi program, which spans nine weeks, advises patients to get out of bed if they wake and are unable to return to sleep for more than 15 minutes. It also uses readings, vignettes, animation, and interactive exercises to help patients,” while warning against using the bedroom for recreational or work purposes, and limiting caffeine. After recruiting 45 adults, investigators noted in their Archives of General Psychiatry paper that “participants’ sleep efficiency…improved by 16 percent and their nighttime wakefulness decreased by 55 percent.” Patients in Canada participated in a similar program. And, 35 “percent of those who completed” it “described their insomnia as ‘much improved’ or ‘very much improved,’ compared with just four percent of those who remained on the waiting list,” according to the paper in Sleep. This research is seen as noteworthy, because “in-person cognitive behavioral therapy is not readily available to many of the sleepless.”

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insHealthDay (7/24, McKeever) reported that “the head of a Texas sleep study facility” is saying that “stress, worry, caffeine, alcohol, and watching TV in bed — factors known as ‘poor sleep hygiene’ — are the major reasons why people can’t shut down their bodies when it’s time for sleep.” Such habits, explained Dr. Sunil Mathews, of Baylor Medical Center, “can also lead to taking sleep-aid medications that could interfere with alertness the next day.” This “can turn into a vicious cycle.” Dr. Mathews offered several recommendations that can help people “develop good sleep hygiene.” He said that people should not exercise “within four hours of bedtime,” and should “avoid caffeine, alcohol or sugary items within eight hours.” It is also important to “maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends,” among other things.

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ins HealthDay (6/9, Thomas) reported that, according to a study presented at a sleep conference, “adults with primary insomnia have a neurochemical abnormality that makes it difficult to ‘shut down’ the mind at night for sleep,” Harvard researchers said. “Unlike most cases of insomnia, primary insomnia can’t be attributed to a psychiatric, medical or environmental cause.” For the study, the team “measured the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in 16 adult men and women with primary insomnia and 16 men and women deemed normal sleepers.” They found that “people who had suffered from primary insomnia for more than six months had 30 percent lower levels of GABA,” which is “the most common inhibitory transmitter in the brain,” slowing “overall activity in many brain areas.” The authors speculated that “primary insomnia is the result of a neurobiological state of hyperarousal, and that this state remains throughout the day and night, affecting the individual’s mind and body.” Notably, “about one-quarter of people with insomnia have this type.”

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DaliPersistenceOfMemoryAHealthDay (6/11, West) reported that, according to a study presented at a sleep conference, sleep may be “good for your memory, but the sleeping brain seems to store only the most useful information.” For the study, researchers at the Harvard Medical School analyzed data taken “from a group of 44 college students aged 18 to 22,” and found that “when a good night’s rest follows a period of learning, sleep can preserve the most important memories for as long as four months.” The authors suggested that sleep may be “a period of memory consolidation” in which “the sleeping brain calculates what is most important about a memory and selects the best candidates for long-term memory.”

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insomnia1Medscape (5/19, Jeffrey) reported that “a new analysis of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to ask about sleep patterns in Americans shows that insomnia is a common problem in the United States,” with “15 percent of Americans” meeting “the definition for insomnia by [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed] DSM-IV criteria in the past month.” For the study, presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, researchers at Arizona’s Maricopa Integrated Health System “used data from NHANES 2004–2005,” which encompassed “a total of 6,127 participants aged 20 to 85 years,” each of whom “was interviewed and underwent a standardized health examination.” The team also found “a close relationship between depression and insomnia; among those who met DSM IV criteria for major depressive disorder, 52 percent met diagnostic criteria for insomnia. Among those with insomnia, 47 percent met criteria for major depressive disorder.”

       

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MedWire (4/24, Davenport) reports that, according to a study published online Apr. 9 in the journal Biological Psychiatry, “adding a combination of noninvasive circadian-related interventions to standard medication in patients with bipolar disorder accelerates, augments, and sustains antidepressant responses.” For the study, researchers from the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine “randomly assigned 49 outpatients with bipolar disorder to receive standard medication alone, or medication plus chronotherapeutic augmentation (CAT), consisting of” sleep deprivation (SD), “bright light therapy,” and “sleep phase advance,” then “assessed” patients “using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD).” The investigators found that both “at day seven and week seven, significantly more CAT patients than medication patients met the” response criteria, “defined as a 50 percent reduction in HRSD ratings over baseline, while 12 of 19 responders in the CAT group were classified as in remission at the end of week seven.”

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Here is a link to get a free seven day trial of Ambien CR with a prescription from your physician.  Please discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your physician and whether or not it is appropriate for your insomnia before beginning treatment.

Free Seven Day Trial of Ambien CR

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