NIH Offers Sleep Resources to Students
To help parents and their children understand the importance of sleep, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Science Education and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has developed a supplemental curriculum for use in high school biology classes.

The free curriculum, Sleep, Sleep Disorders, and Biological Rhythms, which meets National Science Education Standards, encourages students to explore the scientific processes of sleep, the importance of adequate sleep, and the negative consequences of sleep deprivation, according to NHLBI’s National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), which coordinates sleep research and sleep education programs throughout the National Institutes of Health and the federal government.

While the high school curriculum and Star Sleeper campaign materials target youth and their parents and teachers, a Working Group on Sleepiness and Adolescents, cosponsored by the NCSDR and the American Academy of Pediatrics, will soon release recommendations for pediatricians on treating sleepiness in adolescents.

MDs Underdiagnose RLS
Despite its negative impact on sleep and daily function, restless legs syndrome (RLS) is often underdiagnosed by primary care physicians, according to a recent study published in Sleep Medicine. Studying more than 23,000 patients in five industrialized Western countries, the researchers found that of the 551 patients characterized as probable RLS sufferers by the validated study criteria, 357 of them, or 64.8%, reported consulting a physician about their symptoms during the last 12 months. Of these patients, only 12.9% (46/357) reported receiving a diagnosis of RLS by their physician.

“Our study highlights the need to educate patients and health care professionals about RLS, so that this common, disruptive condition can be better diagnosed and managed,” says lead study investigator Wayne Hening, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The RLS Epidemiology, Symptoms and Treatment (REST) study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline.

In July, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) appointed Amy McKenna Luz, managing director, Strategic Donor Development, for Childreach/Plan International of Warwick, RI, to the newly created position of COO.

“Growing awareness that sufficient, quality sleep is a necessary ingredient for optimal health and performance is creating new opportunities for the National Sleep Foundation, particularly for extending education about sleep hygiene, sleep disorders, and related health and safety issues,” says Richard L. Gelula, CEO of NSF, based in Washington, DC. “Amy McKenna Luz is a successful executive who has a record of forming high-level, cross-sector partnerships, and we feel she will make a leadership contribution to public health, the sleep science and medicine communities, and NSF.”

Sleep Improves Next-Day Performance, Study Says
Those who sleep after an intense evening of training may experience better task performance the following day, according to an abstract presented in June at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Subjects who trained in the morning did not improve when retested after 8 hours of wakefulness. The results of the study also suggest that the deeper a part of the brain sleeps, the more performance improves the next day, according to Guilio Tononi, MD, PhD, from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, who conducted the study with colleagues at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. In addition, a certain piece of the brain can be made to sleep more deeply than the rest, Tononi and his colleagues found. The authors used a form of unconscious motor learning that depends on two brain areas in the right parietal lobe. When the patients slept after the learning session, the researchers, using an electroencephalograph with 256 channels, observed an increase in slow waves in precisely the two brain areas used for learning. Those slow waves, the researchers say, are the classic marker of sleep intensity.

 BRPT Commemorates 25 Years
Celebrating its 25th anniversary as a credentialing organization, the Board of Registered Poly-somnographic Tech-nologists (BRPT) hosted nearly 100 sleep professionals at a June 6 evening reception during the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Philadelphia. The BRPT provides the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) credential.

The event honored the past chairs and directors of the McLean, Va-based BRPT with a “red carpet parade” and provided special recognition to members of the BRPT’s Exam Development Committee (EDC) throughout the years. Special salutes were given to German Nino-Murcia, MD, member of the first EDC and an advocate of sleep technologists as vital players in sleep medicine; Peter McGregor, the first technologist to receive the RPSGT certification; and Steve Guidro Frank, who was honored posthumously for the years he acted as an BRPT examiner and a strong advocate for the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists.

BRPT President Mark DiPhillipo presented the BRPT Shining Star Award to Immediate Past President Marietta Bellamy Bibbs in recognition of her outstanding and numerous contributions to advancing the work of the BRPT board and the RPSGT credential.

The evening’s program highlighted significant events in the BRPT’s 25 years through speaker comments and a history written by Cameron Harris, BRPT past president.