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Sleep Research News

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1. A recent study conducted by the University of Toronto has concluded that sleep disorders that make people act as they dream may be a correct predictor of brain conditions like Parkinson or Alzheimer. One of the doctors that have been involved in the research has stated that the rapid eye movement sleep disorder is very important to consider, as it is directly linked to the neurodegeneration process that can ultimately lead to a brain disease.

People that are affected by this condition will tend to act out the things they dream about. This usually leads to personal injuries, not to mention the implications that the bed partner is also suffering. With normal, healthy persons, the muscles are somewhat paralyzed during sleep, so that such things would not happen.

Doctors believe that when such conditions are considered, the brain diseases can be early diagnosed, so that the patient can receive proper treatment. There are several medications that can help persons whose brains are degenerating; the good news is that an early diagnose means early treatment, and thus less degenerated brain cells.

The study has also helped scientists understand that the neurodegenerative process may start in the brain areas that are controlling the sleeping process. Early conclusions suggest that when this process is not stopped, it progresses to other brain areas that cause other symptoms, which are often encountered with people suffering from Alzheimer and Parkinson.

2. Sleep has proved its important role in fighting infections once again. When people get sick, they try to rapidly recover through getting more sleep. A recent study conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has showed that sleep actually boosts the immune system and indeed helps us recover from infections much faster.

Doctors have said that naturally, intuitively, sick people would love to get more sleep, but there wasn’t necessarily a scientifically proven study to back that up until now. The first phase of the study was conducted on fruit flies, with some of them being deprived from sleep and others getting enough sleep. The conclusions of the studies show clearly that sleep has a direct and functional effect on the immune response of the organism.

3. Children with ages between six months and eight years have become part of a recent study, which is dedicated to finding the potential links between the increased numbers of TV watching and sleep. In previous studies, the conclusions showed that the kids who have a TV set in their rooms tend to sleep less, in comparison with those that do not have access to a TV in their rooms.

The information was collected right from the mothers of the kids, who were asked how much time do their kids watch TV every day. The first conclusion was that for every additional hour of TV viewing, the children were sleeping 7 minutes less. This particular aspect was verified mostly with boys, rather than with girls. On average, the presence of a TV set in the child’s bedroom is depriving him or her of about thirty minutes of sleep each day.

4. A groundbreaking study has showed that exposing the body to the sunrays is really useful in keeping weight under control. For best results, the specialists involved in the study recommend exposure to the bright morning light. In fact, they even say that the earlier in the morning the exposure is, the more visible the improvements in Body Mass Index values and consequently, the later the exposure, the higher the BMI values were.

The positive impact to early morning light exposure was clearly visible no matter the level of physical activity, the age, sleep timing or other aspects. Even an early morning light exposure that lasts up to half an hour is enough, say the specialists, to visibly decrease the BMI value. The explanation is simple: light is used to regulate metabolism. When the body does not get enough light, the metabolism suffers and the person ends up gaining weight.

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Understanding Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is one of the sleep disorders that have the potential to develop into a much more serious medical condition, which is characterized by numerous breathing stops while sleeping. People that suffer from sleep apnea are usually snoring loudly, and they tend to feel tired when they get up in the morning.

sleep apneaSpecialists divide sleep apnea disorders into two main types. The first type of sleep apnea is obstructive, being a more common form that occurs when the throat muscles relax. The second type is the central sleep apnea and it is much less common, being a form of apnea that occurs when the brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles that control the breathing process.

Once a person thinks he has sleep apnea, he must go and see a doctor right away, as treatment is the only way of making sure the problem does not aggravate. But what are the symptoms of sleep apnea, in the first place? How can a person know if he or she is suffering from this medical condition?

It is important to understand that the symptoms that characterize the obstructive and central apnea can overlap, so differentiating them can be pretty difficult. Among the most common symptoms, there are: sleepiness during daytime (an indirect proof that the person is not getting enough quality sleep at night), snoring, a characteristic of the obstructive sleep form, breathing cessation during sleep which can be noticed by the spouse or by another person, sudden awakenings characterized by shortness of breath (frequently encountered with central sleep apnea), waking up with a dry mouth and throat, headaches, insomnia and attention problems.

People should know that once they start snoring so loud that they disturb others, they should see a doctor. Also, when they wake up due to a shortness of breathing, or experience pauses in breathing during sleep, it is time to go see a sleep specialist. Unfortunately, many people do not consider snoring as something that can be potentially serious. At the same time, not all people diagnosed with sleep apnea will snore while they are sleeping.

As mentioned above, obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles of the throat relax. These muscles control the soft palate, the tonsils and the side walls of the throat and the tongue. When these muscles are relaxed, the airway narrows and can even get closed, so smaller and smaller oxygen quantities are inhaled. When there is less oxygen in the blood, the brain will wake the person up, so that the airway will reopen again. These awakenings can sometimes be extremely fast; many people are not usually aware of them, as they happen during the night.

People that suffer from sleep apnea will also make a lot of noises like chocking and gasping. These sounds may be heard many times per hour during sleep at night, and this can explain the morning fatigue, the dizziness and the headaches. If this happens to you, it simply means that sleep did not have the needed quality. Often time, though, the person with obstructive sleep apnea will not be aware of these interruptions during sleep, and may even consider that they have had a good sleep at night.

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Louis Kraml and Bingham Memorial Hospital: 15 Years of Teamwork

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Louis Kraml has been leading Bingham Memorial Hospital since 1999. It’s been 15 years since he became the CEO of this thriving medical institution, so the idea of writing a review of his activity sounded like a good plan.

Louis Kraml

Louis Kraml

But who is Louis Kraml in the first place? From a professional point of view, everything started in 1990, when Kraml has accepted to lead the Hazel Hawkins Hospital in California. Louis Kraml had a master’s degree in healthcare administration, so he had all the needed qualifications to take on this difficult task. Nine years later, Louis Kraml has accepted the challenge of becoming the CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital. Why was that a challenge? First of all, the hospital wasn’t doing well at all; it had too few qualified physicians, so very few people were using its services, preferring to choose the larger hospitals from the neighboring cities.

If you are familiar with the medical field, you know that lots of small rural hospital had to close their doors for good about a decade ago. In was then when Louis Kraml stepped in, doing his best to prevent BMH from sharing the same sad faith with its less fortunate neighbors. Things are much easier when you’ve got large budgets at your disposal, because this gives you the ability to hire the best medical personnel; sadly, small hospitals don’t have this luxury, because most doctors will rightfully choose larger hospitals, which have modern medical equipment and offer great paychecks.

Have you ever heard that a CEO decided to take a risky job because he likes his potential employees’ attitude? I bet that you could count these people using the fingers from a single hand, but Louis Kraml did just that: he took on the role of chief executive officer at BMH because he liked the way the people were doing their job, despite the poor conditions that were forced to work in.

So how did Louis Kraml manage to pull this off? One of his most guarded secrets is certainly innovation, and he is constantly pushing the boundaries. Preventative health care is a dear subject for Kraml, who makes sure that his hospital offers free advice to the locals, teaching them how to prevent various diseases, rather than treating them. According to Kraml, his Blackfoot hospital is one of the rural health care leaders, and this doesn’t only happen when it comes to offering the best medical treatment.

Many people in Blackfoot, Idaho will tell you Louis Kraml has turned the hospital from a potential candidate to failure into a thriving medical facility. But why do they know it? The explanation is simple: seven years ago, the hospital has become a non-profit medical care unit. This means that it reinvests some of the earned money into making the hospital even better and gives the rest of the money to the county officials, who use it to improve the life quality for all the Bingham County residents.

In a recent event, Louis Kraml has handed out a $400,000 check to the county officials. It’s easy to do this when your annual turnover exceeds 200 million dollars, even though the things weren’t looking that bright 15 years ago, before Kraml’s appointment, when the annual turnover was barely exceeding 8 million dollars. No matter how you look at it, simple math is telling us that this is a hefty increase of no less than 2,500%, an impressive growth by anyone’s standards.

With results like these, it was clear that the Government will notice Louis Kraml’s efforts as well; his hospital has recently received a $15,000 grant. It may not look that much, but according to Kraml, the money will be used wisely, putting together a rural health development plan which will be implemented by BMH at first, and then it will be offered at no cost to any rural hospital that is interested in applying Kraml’s proven methodologies. It looks like Louis Kraml is on a medical quest, making significant changes that will have a huge impact even outside the hospital that he is now successfully leading.

Kraml modestly admits that a big part of his success is due to his teamwork abilities. Everything starts with having a good management team that works together in an effort to achieve their goals, but it is always wise to partner with other medical related providers that can complement your efforts. As an example, the Pacific Northwest University of health sciences has chosen Bingham Memorial to be the single Idaho Medical School that the University will partner with. According to Louis Kraml, the hospital’s medical standards and the quality of its staff, which has proved its dedication and knowledge by serving about 100,000 patients each year, are the main factors responsible for success.

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