University Medical Center
Research and Development Department
June 30, 2016
Are You Getting a Good Night’s Sleep?
Are your troubles keeping you from falling asleep at night? While for some, the answer might be as simple as a glass of warm milk or a turkey sandwich, others with atypical chemistry in a tiny part of the brain located between the thalamus, the amygdala, and the pituitary gland, might have a bit of a conundrum. Research demonstrates that sleep is important and that sleep issues should not be ignored. Light and Sleep
For most people, light acts as a stimulant, keeping them awake, whereas a dark room tells the brain to go to sleep, activating REM. However, for some, a dark room can do the very opposite by keeping them awake. For these folks, the absence of light excites their brains, kicking it into high gear, causing them anxiety and depression. How you react to light and dark all depends on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus—the area of the brain responsible for controlling, among other things, sleep. An important chemical in the brain—hypocretin—also helps regulate sleep. Can Chemistry Help?
Depending on a person’s brain chemistry, certain people with low levels of hypocretin could be treated with a dose of bright light to help them stay alert and help fight depression. Certain people who have either extremely high levels of hypocretin, or very low levels, will be affected by light far more than those who have a more typically developing hypothalamus. Those people with low levels of hypocretin who have difficulty sleeping will find it much easier to catch their REM by shutting out all forms of light before bedtime, including television sets, computer screens, and even tablets and cell phones. Sleep Aid Apps
There are several sleep aid apps that you can download to your cell phone to help with your sleep cycle, even when you are stressed. Some apps analyze your sleep patterns to help you determine your optimal sleep time. They do so by detecting breathing patterns and movement, and then gently waking you at the right time. Other apps may provide ambient noise that can help you relax. You may find it worthwhile to use an app that logs the noise disruptions that prevent you from reaching a deep sleep. Read the reviews and find an app that works for you! Sleep plays a vital role in ensuring your good health and safety. If you are concerned about your sleep patterns, be sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor!
Dr. Hillary Kim
Health Administration 478
August 15, 2016
Electronic Health Records
There is often a discrepancy between what American physicians prescribe for their patients and how those patients actually follow their doctor’s orders. This is often translated into poor outpatient care and poor results to prescriptive care. In 1991, the Institute of Medicine called for better outpatient care through the use of electronic health records, which is commonly referred to by the acronym EHR. Those clinical practices that have used electronic health records claim that since they have implemented outpatient EHR, there is easier communication with patients, better communications with other providers, better and faster access to medical records, and fewer pharmaceutical errors. However, most physicians have been slow to adapt the EHR policy. A 2004 study done by Jeffrey Linder, an internist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, asked the question “Do EHRs make you a better doctor?” The study concluded that the evidence of improved outpatient care due to EHRs is lacking (Gabriel). According to Linder’s data, he found “no quality difference between ambulatory care provided with and without EHRs.” Additionally, several recent studies have also failed to make a connection between the use of EHR and improved quality of care. Linder claims that there are two principal reasons for the disappointing outcomes in the study. First, the National...
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