Sleep disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat. A science journalist discusses his efforts to overcome narcolepsy, which produces extreme daytime sleepiness, and cataplexy, which produces instant sleep-like paralysis, as well as the science behind sleep disorders.
Henry Nicholls, author, Sleepyhead: The Neuroscience of a Good Night’s Sleep
Researchers have found another way they might be able to identify Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage. A study in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology shows that an eye exam using already-available technology can reveal thinning in the retina of the eye… which is strongly correlated with early Alzheimer’s. Scientists used the technique to study 30 patients in their mid 70’s, none of whom had Alzheimer’s symptoms. Seventeen of them had thinning in the retina, indicating they may have early Alzheimer’s. Pet scans and other tests then indicated the eye test was right.
About 10 percent of people in the U.S. experience sleepless nights as a result of restless legs syndrome at one time or another. But now researchers say they’ve identified how the painful syndrome is triggered. A study in the journal Sleep Medicine shows that the area of the brain controlling leg movement seems to be in a constant state of readiness… as if the conscious brain is asking for the legs to move. Scientists hope the finding may lead to better ways to treat the condition.
And finally… wrinkles are usually a telltale sign of aging, but they might be a sign of something else as well–heart disease risk. A new study from French researchers suggests that deep forehead wrinkles—more than are typical for a person’s age—could be an easy, low-cost way to identify people with atherosclerosis. The study finds that over a 20-year period, people with deep wrinkles were nearly 10 times more likely to die of heart disease than people with a smooth forehead.
Over the years, the number of diagnoses of ADHD have skyrocketed, not only in children, but adults, as well. But recent research shows that some of these individuals suffering from ADHD could actually just be suffering from a disordered body clock. Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Reimbursify, explains that any disruption of sleep can lead to cognitive problems, mood and anxiety issues, and a number of physical health complications, too. If this lack of sleep is persistent for years, one could develop ADHD-like symptoms.
So, what causes this inability to sleep? Dr. Sandra Kooij, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Free University Amsterdam Medical Center, states that it is often an issue with the biological clock. The body relies on light and brightness to know when to wake up, and darkness to know when to sleep, but if this system is off, an individual is not capable of sleeping until later than normal.
Most people enjoy to sleep because it helps them to focus better throughout the day, but falling asleep can be a daunting task for those with sleeping disorders. Dr. Kooij explains a few simple tasks that could help get the biological clock back on track and reduce the impact of ADHD in a variety of people.
Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Reimbursify
Dr. Sandra Kooij, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Free University Amsterdam Medical Center
New research shows that most people with ADHD have a disordered body clock, prompting disturbed sleep, sleep deprivation, and a worsening of ADHD symptoms. Experts discuss how fixing the body clock could lessen the impact of both ADHD and physical diseases that result from poor sleep.
A Real-Life Star Trek Tricorder
A real-life version of the Star Trek Tricorder, a non-invasive remote medical diagnostic machine, has won a major contest after passing multiple tests. Now it faces FDA scrutiny to go onto the market. Its developer discusses what the device is and how it could be used.