Tag Archives: SLEEP

Old Age: ‘Hyperexcitable Neurons’ Interrupt Sleep

For many older adults, a good night’s rest is elusive. The implications of chronically poor sleep can be far-reaching and include a decline in cognitive functioning and detrimental effects on health and general well-being. Fortunately, relief may be in sight.

A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that neurons in the lateral hypothalamus, a brain region, play a pivotal role in sleep loss in old mice. More specifically, the arousal-promoting hypocretin neurons become hyperexcitable, driving sleep interruptions.

Read the full story: https://stan.md/3JQ7z77

Luis de Lecea, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford Medicine. He is the study’s senior author and hopes the finding could pave the way to new drug treatments for age-related sleep problems in humans.

Shi-Bin Li, PhD, is an instructor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department at Stanford Medicine. He is also a basic life research scientist in the de Lecea lab, and is the lead author of the study. Lisa Kim is Senior Manager of Media Relations for Stanford Medicine and Stanford Health Care. Lisa has a deep background in journalism, as she is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who has covered stories on both the national and local levels.

Dr. C’s Journal: Recent Gains In Cancer Care

Recent medical advances in the treatment of cancer you have been amazing. Many of these advances have taken advantage of our own immune system‘s and fighting the cancer. If you or a loved one have had the recent diagnosis of cancer, there are several general things that you should know.

MVU MHA 2021 Q4 Infographic_ Advances, Breakthroughs, and Innovations in Cancer Treatment

The amazing technological advances in medicine have a come with a price tag, more than just the astronomical cost.

Preventative medicine it is given little attention in the medical profession these days, it wasn’t that great in the past either. The reason? Doctors don’t get paid to prevent disease; they get paid for treating it, and doctors are merely human beings like the rest of us and have a fondness for making money. Besides, the individual patient never knows whether he would’ve gotten the disease, had he not tried to prevent it. It takes a large number of people in a planned study to discern that.

Sleep, diet and exercise have all been casualties.

If you have established cancer, your tendency will be to give up on any exercise that you have been doing. This is an error. Depression is very common in patients with cancer, and inactivity makes it worse. Exercise is the one of the best things you can do for depression, and it may well  benefit cancer itself. To be sure to ask your doctor directly about this.

Diet is also extremely important. Many Cancers produce substances that kill the appetite. Weight loss in cancer is one of the hallmarks of the disease. It becomes very important to maintain a good diet.

Sleep is also very important. Just a day or two with poor sleep can harm the Immune cells, and with immune system damage, cancer can only worsen.

Drug studies improve medical care. They also deliver care free of charge, except for your time in taking part in the study. The usual Cancer study compares the new drug with established treatment. There is minimal worry that you are going to be getting a sham treatment.

Certain medical centers are known to specialize in certain areas of cancer treatment. For instance, in Southern California, the University of San Diego is known to be a Center that treats pancreatic cancer. The city of Hope in Los Angeles is known to be a center specializing in CAR-T cell treatment, A promising if expensive treatment for pancreatic cancer. 

It is very definitely worth your while to check into the availability of specialized care centers and drug studies in your area.

One of my friends developed melanoma and was told by his doctor to get his affairs in order. This absurd statement was made by a cancer doctor in one of the best hospitals in our area. In checking with an oncologist of my acquaintance, I found that a mere 30 miles away was a center specialized in the treatment of Malignant Melanoma. He went to the center for treatment, and was given a drug called a checkpoint inhibitor. He was virtually asymptomatic in a year. Unfortunately, patients can rarely expect such dramatic results.

In the history of the world, it has never been easier to learn about your disease, in this case cancer, and participate in its treatment. Especially in medicine, the best is none too good; it pays to do your homework, or at least find a medical advocate who will pursue your cause.

—Dr. C.

Mayo Clinic: What Are The Best Sleeping Positions?

Back-sleepers beware. “I know many people find it to be comfortable, because they’re not putting weight on their joints,” says Dr. Lois Krahn, a Mayo Clinic sleep specialist. But Mayo Clinic experts say sleeping on your back is actually the worst sleeping position, especially if you have sleep apnea. “Sleeping on the back means that your tongue and jaw can fall down and crowd your airway. And many people snore more on their back,” says Dr. Krahn. Sleeping on your stomach helps keep the airway open, but it can put a strain on your spine and neck. “There’s a host of evidence overall suggesting that probably sleeping on the side is better,” says Dr. Virend Somers, a cardiologist and director of the sleep facility within Mayo Clinic’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Weight Gain: How Lack Of Sleep Makes You Hungrier

Did you know that not getting enough zzz’s can actually make you hungrier? According to sleep scientist Matt Walker, the relationship between what you eat and your sleep is a two-way street. Here’s why understanding it can help you improve your overall health.

Sleep — we spend one-third of our lives doing it, but what exactly do we get out of it? And how can we do it better? In this TED series, sleep scientist Matt Walker uncovers the facts and secrets behind our nightly slumber. (Made possible with the support of Oura) Check out more episodes on TED.com: https://go.ted.com/sleepingwithscience

Health: Consequences Of Too Little Sleep (Harvard)

Brain Research: The Many Benefits Of Healthy Sleep

ATHEROSCLEROSIS: STRESS, LACK OF SLEEP & EXERCISE AND POOR DIET RAISE RISKS

Swirski acknowledged that “there is no question” that genetics play a role in cardiovascular health, but in the last several years, four risk factors — stress, sleep interruption or fragmentation, diet, and sedentary lifestyle — have been clearly identified as contributing to atherosclerosis, commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a variety of complications, including death.

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #45: SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea and obesity are bound together as Charles dickens observed in his Pickwick papers. The Pickwickian syndrome is obesity associated with alveolar hypoventilation(insufficient breathing) with an increase in CO2 in the bloodstream which causes narcosis, or SLEEPINESS, in the daytime.

When I went in for my sleep apnea study, I noticed a number of double wide chairs available for the usual clientele there. OBESITY is one of the major risk factors for sleep apnea. Depositions at the base of the tongue and throat interfere with breathing, and causes snoring to the point of tracheal blockage and apnea at night.

Some people with normal “ BMI”, have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can run in families, occur when you are older, or have a thick neck. So no matter what your weight, if you have daytime sleepiness after an apparently full night of sleep, you should be considered for a sleep study.

A SLEEP STUDY requires that you go into a sleep center overnight, get hooked up to an electroencephalogram machine, oxygen monitor, chest straps, and the like. This is the gold standard for a diagnosis of sleep apnea, but a recording pulse oximeter will let you know a lot less expensively if you have the critical problem, a drop in oxygen saturation. The type of sleep apnea I have been discussing so far is obstructive sleep apnea. Of course there are other types such as central, or complex sleep apnea.

Most sleep apnea responds to nasal CPAP, if you can tolerate it.
My own sleep apnea was diagnosed as moderate, 15% central and 85%  obstructive in type.  I have a stuffy nose which I believe to be the main problem setting me up for sleep apnea, and I could not tolerate the positive nasal CPAP. There is also a dental apparatus that I tried unsuccessfully. I wound up sleeping on my side, and propping myself in that position with pillows .This seems to help me, but I still wake up several times a night, usually at the end of a 90 minute sleep cycle, and with a full bladder.

I sleep through better on days when I have had more physical or mental exercise. Avoiding a full stomach at bedtime is also helpful with both sleep apnea and GERD.

I do use Afrin on the left side of my nose, which is more obstructed. I restrict the use to every third day, although I have heard that you can use it every other day, alternating sides, if you have a stuffy nose that has resisted other treatments .I have also heard that using corticosteroid nasal sprays makes Afrin better tolerated. Be sure to get clearance with your doctor before trying this.

— Dr. C

Read more at Mayo Clinic

DR. C’S JOURNAL: A WORD ABOUT DREAM THEORIES

Dreams are very egalitarian. I really believe that one person knows just about as much about dreams as another person, since almost all of us do a lot of it, and no two theories about dreaming are the same. However, I would like to give you some of what I have learned from my own dreams and readings about them. In addition, I have included a reference that discusses Scientific dreams studies in some detail.

When I was about 14 years of age, and burning up with a desire to learn more about medicine, I bought the only “medical” book I could find in Grass Valley, California: The interpretation of dreams, by Sigmund Freud. I vividly remember being amazed at how Freud could  figure out the symbolisms in the dream case studies he published. The interpretations were not at all clear to me, even after I was told the answer, and chewed on them a bit. I subsequently read the opinion that a lot of them were made up. The essence of Freuds theory of dreams is that they were wish fulfillments, which is patently not always true.

REM sleep was linked to dreams in 1953, a couple of years before I graduated from medical school. For years, dreams were studied in a unitary context of REM sleep, and in the opinion of some, this has slowed down progress on the knowledge of dreams immeasurably. We now know that dreams are not always linked to REM sleep. Dreaming can be neurologically interrupted, while REM sleep goes on. REM sleep can be eliminated while dreaming goes on.

So we go back to the starting block; what are dreams?

The Ancients put a lot of stock in dreams, such as Joseph’s dreams predicting a seven-year drought, which earned him a place on the pharaohs Staff. Martin Luther thought they were the work of the devil. My son Michael thinks they are a good thing, since when you dream you are sleeping, and sleep is a wonderful restorative.

My own theory is that they are random fragments of experience which are ordered and supplemented to form a story. These random fragments can either be from recent experiences, perhaps being consolidated in memory, or old experiences that are being pruned as unnecessary. These snippets are then aggregated under the influence of mood neurochemicals, and flow out in the dream narrative.

Sensations coming in from the environment can play a role. I will always remember the story of a sleep study patient, who was slapped on the back of his neck by a wet towel. He awakened immediately, and vividly remembered a dream about the French Revolution, in which he was guillotined. I read that dreams take 5 or10 minutes of time to develop, however.

I dream almost every night, and most are  forgotten rapidly. Some have enough detail and meaning for me too mull over before I get up. Some of my more common dreams are of flying, or getting lost. The pleasant dreams are definitely in the majority. Only rarely, a sinister one will wake me up.

The following reference details about 50 of the most common dreams that people experience. Much other pertinent information is contained. What is your theory on the causes and meaning of dreams? You probably have as good an idea as anybody else.

—Dr. C

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