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Integrating the Growing Role of the Dentist into the Medical Treatment Team for Sleep Disorders

The Sleep Education Consortium is present the Sleep Education Consortium Conference: Integrating the Growing Role of the Dentist into the Medical Treatment Team for Sleep Disorders.

This conference architects the growing link between dentistry and sleep medicine, and it will become clear how the dentist can play a larger role in the overall health of patients.

In an effort to provide the best educational experience the conference provides lectures specifically designed to address the educational needs of the DDS., and the second day of lectures is open to all health care professionals and has a broader range of sleep related lecture topics.

By addressing the patients’ questions regarding sleep issues, the dentist and support staff can be grounded in the broader aspect of sleep disorders on a basic level. The conference will allow the dentist and support staff to become familiar with a multitude of sleep problems, and they can be more responsive to questions patients may ask as the dentist screens for sleep disorders within their practice. The educational methods will include lectures, Q&A, and panel discussion.

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The Urge to Radical Life Extension

Those portions of the modern longevity community interested in bringing an end to aging and extending healthy human life span indefinitely tend to be the older portions, people who have been a part of the broader movement for quite some time. Newcomers tend to be more moderate, aiming at lesser goals. Perhaps this is a result of the successful projects, such as the SENS Research Foundation and Methuselah Foundation, tending to moderate their rhetoric as they attract a broader and larger base of support. I think that this road to moderation might be a problem, and that there is thus a continued role for those who loudly declaim that the goal is to control aging absolutely, via new medical technology, and that the natural consequence of that control is healthy, active, youthful life that extends for centuries or more.

If the goals that our movement works towards are broadly watered down from radical life extension of centuries to just adding a few more years, then marginal projects that can do no more than add a few more years will come to dominate the field to the exclusion of everything else. We are already more or less in this situation, in that that the vast majority of funding goes towards discovery and development of small molecules that tinker with the operation of an aged metabolism to make it a little more resilient to the underlying causes of aging. If that is all that is done, then we’ll all age and die on basically the same schedule as our parents and grandparents. It will be a grand waste of opportunity, given that we have the knowledge and the means to do far better, such as by following the SENS agenda for rejuvenation biotechnologies based on repairing the root causes of aging.

This popular media article looks at a few of the people who do make no bones about aiming at radical life extension. It isn’t terrible, thankfully, though it doesn’t quite manage to escape the straitjacket of conformity, the author suggesting that it is somehow strange to want to live for a long time in good health, or strange to want to avoid a slow, crumbling, painful death. There is no present status quo so terrible that it will not have its defenders, and for whatever reason the status quo of aging and suffering and omnipresent death and loss are aggressively defended. But setting that aside, the article manages to capture the present state of development and the viewpoints of its subjects quite well, which is a change over past years of media attention.

How to live forever: meet the extreme life-extensionists

In 2016, an American real-estate investor named James Strole established the Coalition for Radical Life Extension, a nonprofit based in Arizona which aims to galvanise mainstream support for science that might one day significantly prolong human life. Standards in modern medicine are allowing us to live longer now than ever before. But that is not Strole’s concern. What good are a few more measly years? He is interested in extending life not by days and weeks, but by decades and even centuries, to the degree that mortality becomes optional – an end to The End. He isn’t alone. Life extensionists have become a fervent and increasingly vocal bunch. Famously, the community includes venture capitalists and Silicon Valley billionaires, non-gerontologists all, and nearly all men, who consider death undesirable.

The current life-extensionist strategy is twofold. First, achieve a “wellness foundation,” Strole says. Second, stay alive until the coming gerontological breakthrough. All that is required is to “live long enough for the next innovation,” and presuming you do, “You can buy another 20 years.” Twenty years here, 20 years there, it all adds up, and suddenly you’re 300. This is a common view. Last year the British billionaire Jim Mellon, who has written a book on longevity, titled Juvenescence, said: “If you can stay alive for another 10 to 20 years, if you aren’t yet over 75 and if you remain in reasonable health for your age, you have an excellent chance of living to more than 110.” To most, 110 seems a modest target. Why not forever? “It’s not some big quantum leap,” Strole says, by way of explanation. He invokes the analogy of a ladder: “step by step by step” to unlimited life. In 2009 the American futurist Ray Kurzweil coined a similar metaphor, referring instead to “bridges to immortality“.

Aubrey de Grey, a serious scientist, considers life extension a health issue, which is perhaps the field’s most convincing argument. Gerontologists are not hoping to end death, he says. Instead, “We’re interested in people not getting sick when they get old.” No matter how much society rails against the concept of immortality, nobody really wants to suffer through Alzheimer’s, or suddenly fall foul of cardiovascular disease. Gerontology is the act of developing treatments for age-related diseases, de Grey argues – of reducing the causes of death, not death itself. “The benefits of living longer are not the point. The benefits are not having Alzheimer’s disease.” For de Grey, indefinite life is a by-product, not a goal.

Are we anywhere near to a breakthrough? So far, research has produced modest yields. Gerontologists speak prophetically of potential, but most warn a significant human development remains somewhere far off in the distance – almost in sight but not quite. Richard Hodes, the director of the National Institute of Aging, a US government agency, told me that, though research in animals has led to “dramatic increases in lifespan”, some of them multi-fold, “There has been far less quantitative effect as those models have moved towards mammalian species.” The biologist Laura Deming, who in 2011 established the Longevity Fund, a venture capital firm that supports “high-potential longevity companies”, told me that startups continue to successfully root out biological markers of ageing – inefficient cells, mitochondrial decline – but that, in humans, “We really don’t know right now what will work and what won’t.”

Much of gerontology focuses on identifying types of damage that accumulate with age and developing ways to halt or reverse that accumulation. It has been discovered, for example, that as we grow older, certain cells become senescent and harmful but nevertheless stick around, getting in the way like comatose guests at the end of a house party. Removing those cells have helped mice have longer, healthier lifespans. Similar forms of genetic engineering have been successful in other animal models. But to reach the mainstream, gerontologists must convince government agencies to support human adoption, a complicated and long-winded task, given the general view that death is a normal human process.

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Poor Sleep Linked to Reduced Memory Performance in Older Adults

A new study has found that variability in night-to-night sleep time and reduced sleep quality adversely affect the ability of older adults to recall information about past events. The study also found unexpected racial differences in the type of sleep patterns tied to lower memory performance across both younger and older African American research participants.

Although further investigation will be needed to confirm the results of the pilot study, the findings could help open up a new area of research aimed at understanding the potential connection between poor sleep and the memory declines associated with aging. And the study, which included 50 Atlanta-area adults, also underscores the importance of sleep in maintaining good cognitive functioning.

“The night-to-night variability in the older study participants had a major impact on their performance in tests aimed at evaluating episodic memory,” says Audrey Duarte, PhD, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Psychology and principal investigator in the Memory and Aging Lab, in a release. “The association between sleep and memory has been known, but this study’s novelty is showing that the connection is particularly evident for older adults and black participants, regardless of age.”

The research, supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, was reported June 4 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. It is believed to be the first study of the relationship between sleep and memory with both age and racial differences.

Duarte and Emily Hokett, a PhD student in the School of Psychology, recruited 81 volunteers from the Atlanta area. The volunteers were evaluated carefully to screen out those who had mild cognitive impairment or other potentially confounding factors. Younger adults were recruited in the age range of 18 to 37 years, while older adults were recruited in the range from 56 to 76 years. Ultimately, 50 adults were selected for the study.

“We wanted to look at lifestyle factors to see how people sleep normally, and how their sleep patterns change over time,” Hokett says. “We wanted to know how sleep affected memory performance—how well they remembered things and how well their brains functioned depending on how well they slept.”

The participants were given accelerometers worn on their wrists to measure sleep duration and quality over a period of seven nights. Though they did not measure brain waves, the devices allowed sleep measurements to be done in the participants’ own homes. The researchers sought to provide a more realistic measurement than testing done in sleep labs, which typically lasts just one night.

Participants were asked to visit a Georgia Tech laboratory for a memory test that measured electroencephalography (EEG) brain wave activity as they attempted to recall word pairs that had been shown to them earlier. Not surprisingly, better performance correlated with better sleep in most of the older adults.

But Duarte and Hokett were surprised that the relationship between poor sleep and memory-related brain activity extended to both older and younger black participants—some of whom were college students. To understand the potential causes of the poor sleep, they administered a standardized questionnaire designed to measure stress levels in those participants.

“The main factor that correlated with poor sleep quality in black participants was race-related stress,” says Hokett. “When participants had higher values on that measure of stress, they would also have greater sleep fragmentation, on average. We found a very significant relationship here.”

The study found that black adults slept for 36 minutes less than other adults, which translated into a 12% decrease in memory-related brain activity. On an average night, black adults in the study spent 15 minutes more time awake after falling asleep than did other participants.

The study also found significant variation among subjects in each age group. “Some of our 70-year-old subjects looked like our 20-year-old students,” Duarte said. “There are many factors that contribute to individual differences.”

In future research, Duarte and Hokett hope to expand their study to a larger group of participants, to study the relationship between sleep and memory in other underrepresented minorities, and to explore whether variations in sleep patterns could predict a person’s likelihood of experiencing diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The study’s takeaway message may be that regular sleep is important at any age for the best cognitive performance.

“You can imagine that many people, students among them, may have variable sleep patterns based on staying up late to study and sleeping in on weekends to catch up,” Duarte says. “This data shows that may not be the greatest strategy for optimizing memory ability.”

Yet improvements in sleep may be one area where people concerned about cognitive impairment may have an opportunity to make improvements.

“In understanding normative aging, lifestyle factors are a good area to target because they are potentially factors we can control,” Duarte says. “It’s been known for decades that important things are happening while you sleep with regard to memory consolidation and strengthening of memories. Because we knew that sleep quality typically declines in normal aging, this was a prime target for study.”

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Hypersomnia Educational Meeting (Seattle)

The Hypersomnia Foundation, a nonprofit patient advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of people with idiopathic hypersomnia and other rare sleep disorders, will be holding a Hypersomnia Educational Meeting in Seattle, WA on June 29, 2019.

This June 29 event, the first-ever gathering hosted by the Hypersomnia Foundation on the West Coast, will serve as a forum to connect persons with rare sleep disorders with researchers and patient advocates in the sleep medicine field. David B. Rye, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology at Emory University, will speak on recent research developments in the hypersomnia field. Flavia B. Consens, MD, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Washington and a board-certified physician at the Sleep Medicine Center at UW-Harborview, will discuss treatment of hypersomnias from the doctor’s point of view.

Patient advocates, including Julie Flygare, president and CEO of Project Sleep, and Sarah Beazley, Hypersomnia Foundation board member, will lead discussions and a workshop on how persons with rare sleep disorders can obtain their best care and how they can help to accelerate research into better treatments for these disorders. Rebecca King, Hypersomnia Foundation’s legislative advocate, will address her legislative efforts in breaking down insurance barriers and in reducing the high costs that prevent patients from obtaining their medications.

Clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, Balance Therapeutics, will also provide updates about their clinical trials involving novel therapies for rare sleep disorders. Morgan Lam, the CEO of Balance Therapeutics, and his team will be present to answer questions about their current clinical trial involving people with IH.

The meeting will be held at the Seattle Airport Marriott, 3201 S. 176th Street, from 10 am-3 pm on Saturday, June 29, and is open to the public. Tickets are $25 through Eventbrite, and include lunch.

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We Tried It: 3 Popular Anti-Snoring Devices

After years of sleeping next to a snoring partner, A Healthline reporter tries to put an end to noisy nights.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been jolted awake in our San Francisco home thinking “the big one” just hit California, only to realize the rumble that shook me out of my dream was simply my husband, John, snoring less than a foot away.

Suddenly, those ads for over-the-counter snoring gadgets began to look pretty promising.

So, after a particularly noisy night, we recently looked at some of the top options on Amazon and decided to give three different devices a try.