Gene sets apart early birds from night owls and helps to predict the time of your death

Many of the body’s processes follow a natural daily rhythm or so-called circadian clock. There are certain times of the day when a person is most alert, when blood pressure is highest, and when the heart is most efficient.

Several rare gene mutations have been found that can adjust this clock in humans, responsible for entire families in which people wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and cannot stay up much after 8 at night.

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New England advisory council to discuss diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in adults

BOSTON – The (ICER) announced a topic change for its December 6, 2012, public meeting of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC). It will now address diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adults.

Obstructive sleep apnea represents an important topic for CEPAC consideration with its high prevalence among adults. Studies estimate that approximately 10 to 20 percent of middle-aged and older adults suffer from the condition, with the rate rising due to increasing rates of obesity.

Variation in compliance with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and other devices and uncertainty over their appropriate use provides an opportunity for CEPAC to provide further clarity on the evidence of therapeutic options for OSA.

CEPAC members, drawn from clinical and public policy experts from all six New England states, will discuss the findings of the review of OSA produced by the (AHRQ), supplemented with additional analyses and information provided by ICER. The meeting materials will be available online for public comment beginning November 16, 2012.

Meeting Details

Date: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00PM ET
   Legislative Office Building
Room 2D
300 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Meeting attendance and comment registration is required; sign up for both on the group’s Website.



CEPAC is a regional body whose goal is to provide objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England.

Supported by a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and with backing from a consortium of New England state health policy leaders, CEPAC will hold public meetings to consider evidence reviews of medical tests and treatments and provide judgments regarding how the evidence can best be used across New England to improve the quality and value of health care services.

CEPAC consists of practicing physicians with experience in evaluating and using evidence in the practice of healthcare, as well as patient/public members with experience in health policy, patient advocacy and public health.

ICER is managing the day-to-day operations of CEPAC as part of its federally-funded initiative meant to develop and test new ways to adapt federal evidence reviews to improve their usefulness for patients, clinicians, and payers. A list of CEPAC members, and other information about the project, is available online at


About ICER

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, provides independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of new and emerging technologies.

ICER seeks to achieve its ultimate mission of informing public policy and spurring innovation in the use of evidence to improve the value of health care for all. For more information, please visit


Links of interest

Have you had bouts of insomnia lasting two weeks or more? Do you walk around in a constant fog, feeling sleepy, fatigued, and as though you have no energy? Perhaps you “feel” older than you are, or maybe it’s all you can do to stay awake while driving. If any of that, or similar issues are familiar, or if you snore or have disrupted sleep, even if just a few simple, repeat trips to the bathroom during the night, check out these two online tests to help you get to the root of the issue. While they will not make a diagnosis for you, they will help you, your physician, or, more appropriately, a sleep specialist, find out what’s causing you the problem sleepiness.

Signs of not getting enough sleep or sleeping poorly include consistently taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, awakening more than a few times or for long periods each night, feeling sleepy during the day, or having trouble concentrating at school or at work.

Keeping a daily sleep log, or diary, can help you track your sleep habits and identify what might be interfering with sleep. You may download a sleep diary. To download files from this site, you need to be registered as a site member to gain access. Once registered, simply login, and then download the files you’re interest in.


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Adequate sleep helps weight loss

Adequate sleep is an important part of a weight loss plan and should be added to the recommended mix of diet and exercise, states a commentary in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

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Bariatric patients with obstructive sleep apnea fail to show typical symptoms

These patients have a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, depression and post-operative complications

A Rhode Island Hospital researcher has found that the majority of bariatric surgery patients being treated for obesity have clinically significant obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but report fewer symptoms than other sleep disorders patients.

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Obesity accelerates memory loss in people over 50

brain.labelledPeople who are obese and also have high blood pressure and other risk factors called metabolic abnormalities may experience a faster decline in their cognitive skills over time than others, according to a study published in the August 21, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Metabolic abnormality was defined as having two or more of the following risk factors: high blood pressure or taking medication for it; low HDL or “good” cholesterol; high blood sugar or taking diabetes medication; and high triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood); or taking medication to lower cholesterol.

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Google it? Internet searches often provide inaccurate information about infant sleep safety

In 2010, 59 percent of the U.S. population used Internet searches for health information, and parents searching for information regarding their children were among the top users.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published recommendations in 2011 for infant sleep safety to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, strangulation, and other accidental sleep-related deaths.

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Real-Life Exposure to Violence Disrupts a Child’s Sleep Habits

When violence shatters a child’s world, the torment can continue into their sleep, according to researchers. The impact is measurable and affected by the severity of the violence, and the effects can last over time.

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