Both adults and adolescents who smoke have reported difficulties sleeping, and young children exposed to tobacco smoke have poorer sleep quality. Recent research has found that children with asthma have more parent-reported sleep issues when exposed to tobacco smoke. The study, "Associations Between Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Sleep Patterns in Children, " in the February issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Jan. 18), examined 219 children enrolled in an asthma intervention trial who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Researchers found that exposure to secondhand smoke can be associated with sleep problems among children with asthma, including difficulties falling asleep, more sleep-disordered breathing and increased daytime sleepiness. Sleep efficiency has been shown to improve with effective asthma treatment, but study authors feel that the reduction or elimination of secondhand smoke can have significant impact on physical and emotional health and school performance among the pediatric population.
Zebrafish Studies Reveal Pathways Affecting Sleep And Wakefulness That Are Likely Shared With Humans
A robust new technique for screening drugs' effects on zebrafish behavior is pointing Harvard University scientists toward unexpected compounds and pathways that may govern sleep and wakefulness in humans. Among their more intriguing findings, described this week in the journal Science : Various anti-inflammatory agents in the immune system, long known to induce sleep during infection, may also shape normal sleep/wake cycles. The new research identifies several compounds with surprising effects on sleep and wakefulness in zebrafish. But it also suggests that despite the evolutionary gap between them, zebrafish and mammals may be strikingly similar in the neurochemistry underlying their rest/wake cycles, meaning these same compounds may prove effective in people. "Many current drug discovery efforts rely on screening conducted outside the body, " says Alexander F. Schier, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard. "Although such screens can be successful, they cannot recreate the complex neuroscience of entire organisms.
New UK research, published recently in PLoS ONE, has not reproduced previous findings that suggested Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be linked to a recently discovered virus. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and King's College London, say this means that anti-retroviral drugs may not be an effective treatment for people with the illness. An estimated three in 1000 people have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), experiencing severe physical and mental fatigue that is not alleviated by rest, together with other symptoms such as muscle pain, headache, joint pain and depression. Diagnosing CFS is difficult, as symptoms vary and there is no standard test. The fundamental cause of CFS is unknown and it is usually treated using rehabilitation techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy or graded exercise therapy. In October 2009, a group of US scientists published research in the journal Science that suggested that a recently discovered virus called XMRV could be linked to CFS.
Researchers in the US found that chronic sleep loss is not easy to recoup and severely impairs performance later in the day, particularly late at night when performance is naturally low. The study, which examines how sleep lost in the short term (last night) and the long term (over several weeks) combine with the body's natural circadian rhythm in our 24-hour internal clock, appears to dispel the idea that one can quickly recover from chronic sleep loss by just sleeping really well for a couple of days. The researchers said the findings suggest people with occupations that potentially affect health and safety in a critical way, like surgeons, lorry drivers and heavy machine operators, should make sure they don't accumulate sleep loss or they may find their performance is so reduced it becomes dangerous. The study appears in the 13 January issue of Science Translational Medicine and is the work of lead author Dr, Daniel Cohen, a researcher in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachussets, USA and colleagues.
A study in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Sleep found that adolescents with bedtimes that were set earlier by parents were significantly less likely to suffer from depression and to think about committing suicide, suggesting that earlier bedtimes could have a protective effect by lengthening sleep duration and increasing the likelihood of getting enough sleep. Results show that adolescents with parental set bedtimes of midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to suffer from depression (odds ratio = 1.24) and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal ideation (OR=1.20) than adolescents with parental set bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier. This association was appreciably attenuated by self-reported sleep duration and the perception of getting enough sleep. Adolescents who reported that they usually sleep for five or fewer hours per night were 71 percent more likely to suffer from depression (OR=1.71) and 48 percent more likely to think about committing suicide (OR=1.48) than those who reported getting eight hours of nightly sleep.
Local Head-Injury Patients Sought For Study Investigating Potential Treatment For Daytime Sleepiness
Local patients are being sought for a national clinical research study currently investigating a study medication for people who have had a head injury, concussion or bump on the head and feel sleepy or tired during the day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head injury is one of the most common neurologic disorders, affecting around 1.5 million Americans every year. Many people with a past head injury feel sleepy during the day, yet few people know that their sleepiness might be connected to this injury. "Currently, there are no treatments for patients who suffer from sleepiness during the day as a result of head injury, " according to study investigator Dr. Milton Erman, MD at Avastra Clinical Trials. "Consequently, there is a great need for new medicines to treat this life-changing problem." The clinical study is specifically designed for adults aged 18 to 65 who have had a head injury, concussion, or bump on the head within the last 10 years and feel sleepy or tired during the day.
Wives of soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health conditions than women whose husbands are not deployed, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The study, published Jan. 14, 2010, in The New England Journal of Medicine, examined medical records of the wives of active duty U.S. Army personnel, comparing those whose husbands were serving abroad with those whose husbands were not deployed. "This study confirms what many people have long suspected, " said Alyssa Mansfield, Ph.D., the study's lead author, who conducted the research as a doctoral student at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and is now a research epidemiologist at RTI International. "It provides compelling evidence that Army spouses are feeling the impact of recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
VIVUS, Inc. (Nasdaq: VVUS) announced positive results from a phase 2 study evaluating the safety and efficacy of Qnexa® , an investigational drug, for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). VIVUS recently completed phase 3 development of Qnexa for the treatment of obesity and submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA for that indication. The study announced demonstrated statistically significant improvement in the apnea/hypopnea index ("AHI" - a measure of the severity of sleep apnea) in patients with OSA treated with Qnexa for 28 weeks. Qnexa-treated patients also experienced significant weight loss, improvements in blood pressure, and overnight blood oxygen levels. OSA is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe. OSA is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, stroke, sudden cardiac death and all-cause mortality. Approximately 18 million Americans have sleep apnea.
A study in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that erectile dysfunction was more common in older men with restless leg syndrome (RLS) than in those without RLS, and the magnitude of this association increased with a higher frequency of RLS symptoms. Results show that erectile dysfunction was 16 percent more likely in men with RLS symptoms that occur five to 14 times per month (odds ratio of 1.16) and 78 percent more likely in men whose RLS symptoms occur 15 or more times a month (OR=1.78). The associations were independent of age, body mass index, use of antidepressants, anxiety and other possible risk factors for RLS. Fifty-three percent of RLS patients and 40 percent of participants without RLS reported having erectile dysfunction, which was defined as a poor or very poor ability to have and maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse. The results suggest it is likely that the two disorders share common mechanisms, said lead author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, instructor at Harvard Medical School, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and research scientist at the Harvard School of public health in Boston, Mass.
Only about 8 percent of high school students get enough sleep on an average school night, a large new study finds. The others are living with borderline-to-serious sleep deficits that could lead to daytime drowsiness, depression, headaches and poor performance at school. The study, which appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, evaluated responses from 12, 000 students in grades 9 through 12 who participated in the 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The authors found that 10 percent of adolescents sleep only five hours and 23 percent sleep only six hours on an average school night. More females than males have sleep deficits as do more African-Americans and whites compared to Hispanics. Nearly 20 percent more 12th-grade students have sleep deficits than do those in ninth grade. The findings of this study were consistent with those reported from the National Sleep Foundation's 2006 Sleep in America Poll, the authors say, adding that that although no formally accepted sleep guidelines exist, the foundation defines nine hours a night as optimal for adolescents, eight hours as borderline and anything under eight hours as not enough.