Space Sleep Studies Set to Lift Off
Maintaining proper sleep is critical during space missions, especially since astronauts often suffer from poor sleep quality and insomnia during their time in orbit. A new study is aiming to provide information on outer space sleep that may lead to better rest for astronauts.
In the experiment, astronauts will wear the VivoMetrics LifeShirt System—a lightweight, machine-washable garment with embedded sensors to record sleeping activity. German astronaut Thomas Reiter is set to wear the system aboard the International Space Station, after traveling there on the Discovery Space Shuttle later this year. The LifeShirt will detect sleep activity and disturbance by assessing cardiac activity from an electrocardiogram and other physiological parameters. At the same time, astronauts will use an integrated personal digital assistant to answer a series of sleep-related questions as part of a subjective “sleep diary.” Analysis software will then produce a sleep spectrogram that researchers will use to measure the astronaut’s stability of sleep.
Astronauts typically average only 6 hours of sleep per night in orbit and must endure an orbital dawn every 90 minutes, which makes poor quality of sleep a major issue for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Insomnia is a prevalent symptom among astronauts. Up to half take hypnotic medications for several days in flight during some shuttle missions. In addition, previous research has shown that approximately 25% of space crew members experience dramatic impairment in the quantity and/or quality of sleep during both short and long missions.
“Though it is extremely important for astronauts to be well rested and alert in space, previous studies have shown that this is not always the case,” said Paul Kennedy, CEO of VivoMetrics. “We are proud that our technology will help the University of Limerick and the ESA to address this problem.”
Jazz Pharmaceuticals Supports Narcolepsy Network
Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Palo Alto, Calif, is partnering with the Narcolepsy Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Through support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, the Narcolepsy Network is launching its first-ever national advertising campaign.
Isaiah Washington, one of the stars of the television show Grey’s Anatomy, will be featured in a series of public service announcements aimed at raising awareness of narcolepsy, according to the Narcolepsy Network.
In addition to the public service announcements, the organization has produced an educational brochure on the subject of narcolepsy, which will be distributed to physician offices across the country and made available to the public via its Web site, www.narcolepsynetwork.org, and a toll-free number, (888) SLEEP-67.
Study Shows Ramelteon Reduces Sleep Latency
Results of a subanalysis from a Phase III clinical study, presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, showed that ROZEREM™ (ramelteon) significantly reduced the time it took adults with chronic insomnia to fall asleep. In this placebo-controlled analysis, approximately two thirds of patients who received 8 mg of ROZEREM experienced at least a 50% reduction in the time it took them to fall asleep. Study participants also experienced no rebound insomnia (ie, worsening of the insomnia after the treatment was discontinued) or withdrawal effects when they stopped taking ROZEREM.
Progressive Medical Launches Educational Web Site
In an effort to respond to the growing problem of sleep apnea and other sleep disordered breathing issues, Progressive Medical, Carlsbad, Calif, spent the last 6 months developing a research-based Web site, www.hesnores.org, to provide consumers and professionals with information about the issue. The site offers visitors information about identifying sleep disorders, sex life and secondhand snoring, dangers related to drowsy driving, and other sleep-related topics.
Callidus and The Siesta Group Join Forces
Callidus LLC, Del Mar, Calif, and The Siesta Group, Vienna, Austria, have formed a partnership to better serve the sleep medicine field. “We are convinced that our services and products together create an optimized and complete sleep lab solution, which the market has not seen yet,” said Georg Dorffner, CEO of The Siesta Group, which provides sleep scoring and clinical-research-organization (CRO) servicesfor the pharmaceutical industry. Callidus offers the sleep laboratory data-base and management program CallidusSLEEP.
Movers and Shakers
• St Paul, Minn-based Restore Medical Inc named 12-year financial management veteran Christopher Geyen, CPA, as its first chief financial officer. Restore Medical, which makes the Pillar® palatal implant system for obstructive sleep apnea, says the hiring of Geyen is part of preparation for rapid future growth.
• Syntech Solutions, Rockford, Ill, hired Patrick Sorenson, MA/RPSGT, as their new director of education. Sorenson will support the needed growth and education needs of the sleep industry, as well as develop new pediatric training programs and expand the regional classrooms Syntech offers presently in Washington, Illinois, Texas, and Connecticut, the company said.