Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sleeping in a prone position may boost seizures, death in epilepsy patients.

A recent study by the University of Chicago reviewing over 250 cases of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP) has shown that sleeping on chest doubles the risk of sudden death in epilepsy patients. The rates are higher especially in people younger than 40.
Among 253 instances of SUDEP in which body position was documented, nearly three-quarters of the victims -- 73.3% (95% CI 65.7%-80.9%) -- were found in a prone position. In addition, the prone position was reported in all 11 cases of video-EEG-monitored SUDEP.

The apparent risk associated with prone sleeping had been noted previously in smaller case studies, but not in one this large.
Epileptic disruption in autonomic nerve function is the presumed foundation of SUDEP, but whether that manifests primarily as cardiac arrest or respiratory failure is still debated. Researchers have drawn parallels with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), including the possibility that they are related conditions: SUDEP occurs disproportionately in patients during sleep, and victims are often found in a prone position, the same as in SIDS. But just as SIDS can still strike infants sleeping on their backs in line with current recommendations, SUDEP can occur in any epilepsy patient at any time: an indication that the etiology of SUDEP is complex and perhaps different from one patient to the next.

While this event is rare, people with epilepsy should not sleep in a prone position (face down). Patients should have a partner remind them at bedtime or use special devices to prevent an episode.
The study published in 21st Jan edition of Journal Neurology.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sleep Problems in Teens Linked to Alcohol Problems

According to a recent study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, Teenagers ages 14 through 16 who had trouble falling or staying asleep were 47 percent more likely to binge drink than their well-rested peers. The findings are based on data collected from 6,500 adolescents who were part of the larger National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which began tracking a group of adolescents in the mid-90s.

In the study, each extra hour of sleep the teens got corresponded with a 10 percent decrease in binge drinking.Teens who had trouble sleeping when the researchers first checked in with them were 14 percent more likely to drive drunk and 11 percent more likely to have interpersonal issues related to alcohol a year later. And five years after that -when everyone was college-aged or older- those who had sleep issues in high school were 10 percent more likely to drive drunk.

Researchers have long known that lack of sleep and alcohol use are related, but the new study shows that sleep issues can actually precede and even predict alcohol use later on. Another study published in the same journal issue also found that a combination of genetics and peer influence affect teens' decisions to drink, but while a child's genetic makeup isn't something anyone can change, sleep may be something that teenagers and their parents can control.

The body's natural circadian rhythms tend to shift during adolescence, and teens may find it difficult fall asleep until 11 p.m. or midnight. Many parents and pediatricians have been pushing to delay school start times for middle and high school students.
Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement calling on middle and high school to start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

The people involved in the recent study were teenagers in the 1990s, and researchers say they wouldn't be surprised if the situation has become worse due to electronic distractions such as tablets and telephones in the bedroom.