Gastrointestinal Disorders Associated With Sleep
In a recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, clinic researchers reported an association between gastrointestinal disorders and sleep disturbances. The researchers looked at responses to a detailed questionnaire from 2,269 people and determined that irritable bowel syndrome was significantly more common in people with sleep disturbances than those without sleep disturbances. According to the report, it is still uncertain whether gastrointestinal disturbances and sleep disturbances cause one another or they are caused by another underlying problem. “We think the findings will generate further research to understand the interactions between emotional or psychological distress and sleep disturbances and GI disturbances,” says Santhi Swaroop Vege, MD, a Mayo Clinic physician and lead author of the study.

Steps Taken Toward Understanding Narcolepsy
Results from a recent, preliminary study suggest a step forward in understanding the process behind narcolepsy; there appears to be an underlying autoimmune process for people with a certain genetic profile. Tom Gordon, Flinders University, South Australia, and colleagues induced narcolepsy-like symptoms in smooth muscles of mice by injecting antibodies from nine people with confirmed narcolepsy. Mice injected with antibodies from nine people who did not have narcolepsy did not develop such symptoms.

Social, Physical Activity Improves Sleep in Elderly
A study by sleep researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine suggests that even short-term exposure to either morning or evening social and physical activity improves cognitive performance and subjective sleep in the elderly,” says Susan Benloucif, PhD, associate professor and one of the authors of the study. Results of the study showed that participation in a short-duration social and physical activity program improved cognitive performance by 4% to 6% and improved subjective sleep quality in older adults.

Sleep HealthCenters Opens New Facility
Sleep HealthCenters recently opened a comprehensive sleep medicine services center in Weymouth, Mass. The center offers diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia, OSA, EDS, and RLS. “We’re very pleased that we can now offer our comprehensive services in a more convenient location for South Shore patients with sleep problems,” says Paul S. Valentine, president and CEO. Medical director Roger S. Smith, DO, who trained at Stanford University and is board-certified in sleep medicine, along with the medical, clinical staff, and all sleep specialists, provide evidence-based care focused on achieving improved clinical outcomes and enhancing patient satisfaction. Patients’ services include prescription of medication, provision of special equipment, behavior therapies, and access to Sleep HealthCenters’ medical clinic and the CPAP clinic.

Book Review

 “Sleep Lab Compliance and the Law”
Given the absolute complexity of the laws governing health care today and the ever-changing environment, it can be extremely difficult to gain and maintain an understanding of the applicable laws.

The Sleep Center Management Institute (SCMI) released a new publication this year—a legal manual, Sleep Lab Compliance and the Law, authored by Daniel Brown, Esq. Brown is a 20-year health law veteran with special focus in the field of sleep diagnostics as well as being a member of the SCMI Advisory Team.

The manual is well planned and formatted with each chapter addressing the specific topics, using easy-to-follow illustrations and concluding with a summarized list of the information discussed in the chapter. Brown does a thorough job of explaining the subject matter.

Sleep Lab Compliance and the Law topics include a sleep diagnostics industry overview; reimbursement (private and Medicare); HIPAA laws; physician licensing and fee-splitting; joint ventures, fraud, and abuse laws; and durable medical equipment. It is a two-volume set (more than 500 pages combined) with the first volume being the “plain English” explanation of the legalese and the second volume a desk reference to the actual legal text.

Brown clarifies that the book is intended as “the blueprint principles that will shape your establishment and operation of a sleep testing center.…” Initially, the main purpose of the publication was to “identify and analyze the principal legal issues impacting the sleep industry” as an educational resource for the physician and/or professional with limited sleep knowledge looking to undertake a sleep diagnostic business. Second, the book is intended as a desk reference for sleep diagnostic facility staff, managers, and attorneys.

It is clearly stated that this manual is not meant to be a replacement for professional legal counsel, and though the $395 cost may turn some off at first, when considering the cost of being educated by an attorney on the same topics, it can be a more cost-effective form of education and continual reference source.

An unaddressed area that would be beneficial to the audience in future editions of the manual is legal issues pertaining to the daily operation of a sleep facility, and staff and patient liability issues. The only other note is the constantly changing legal environment in health care.

For more information on Sleep Lab Compliance and the Law or to sign up for the free SCMI Sleep Alert e-mail service, contact Sleep Center Management Institute at (888) 556-2203.

 NFL Legend Reggie White’s Death Suspected To Be Related to Sleep Apnea
Preliminary reports suggest that sleep apnea and other complications contributed to the death of Reggie White, one of the greatest defensive players the NFL has seen. The football superstar passed away in his hometown of Huntersville, NC, at the age of 43. White, a former Green Bay Packer, Philadelphia Eagle, and Carolina Panther, was elected to the Pro Bowl 13 straight times and was a two-time defensive player of the year. Despite his extraordinary athletic ability, complications from sleep apnea affected his health. “The news came as a surprise—especially the family coming out immediately after his death and saying it was tied to apnea,” says David Jackson, national coordinator of Awake in America. Vyto Kab, former NFL player, COO of Flaga Group, and cofounder of SleepTech LLC, believes that NFL players and those who suffer from sleep apnea will begin to understand the seriousness of this disease. “The passing of Reggie White is a very unfortunate situation,” Kab says, “and if there is one positive to come out of it, the situation has created awareness for other players who are big guys that might be susceptible or other people out there who may not have addressed this issue.” Developing awareness of sleep apnea is a crucial step toward proper diagnosis and treatment of those who have the disease. Sleep apnea is generally underdiagnosed because symptoms develop slowly and can often be vague. Former NFL running back Owen Gill, who suffers from sleep apnea, believes that what is important to learn here is that sleeping problems and snoring are medical issues that need to be treated professionally. “We kind of try to be supermen, or are made out to be that way, but you never know. You have more than just yourself to think about—you have family to think about and so forth, and going to get checked is the best thing to do,” Gill says. The long-term impact of White’s passing away is yet to be seen, but for now, people with sleep problems are beginning to grasp the dangers of untreated sleep apnea. “We are all vulnerable to different disorders like sleep apnea,” Kab says. “Reggie White was a powerful and strong person in a lot of ways, but he was still vulnerable, and we are all vulnerable.”