New device can help with insomniaBy Veita Bland, M.D. / June 17, 2016
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Your mind keeps racing. You just cannot turn it off. You toss and turn in the bed but thoughts of what happened that day or thoughts of what you have to do the next day keep running through your brain. How can you stop it? You have got to go to sleep. You have got to get up refreshed and ready to go the next day, but it just won’t stop.
It is reported that about 55 million Americans have insomnia. It is well known that this causes serious problems with the activities of the next day. It is estimated that the condition costs $100 billion dollars a year. This includes poor workplace performance, accidents at home, at work and in the car and increased usage of the healthcare system. Not sleeping is indeed a costly business on many fronts.
So what do you do? You lie there in misery. You take some over the counter sleep aid. It may help but will it also harm? You say, ‘I have got to go and see my health care provider and get some of those sleeping pills.’ These types of medications are associated with next day impairment of driving and other activities that require an alert mind so they cannot be good for you.
Dr. Eric Nofzinger, a board certified sleep physician and founder of Cereve at the University of Pittsburgh, noted something while performing sleep studies on patients. It is well known that with insomnia the frontal cortex of the brain remains active, thus preventing these patients from getting deeper and more restorative sleep. Dr. Nofzinger determined that when you gently cool the forehead within a precise clinically proven therapeutic range, the activity in the brain decreases and the patient is able to sleep better. He then invented a device that is placed at the bedside. It is controlled by software that then pumps a cooling solution to a pad placed on the forehead and worn throughout the night. It has been shown to be very effective in calming down the mind; getting rid of that racing sensation. This device was recently approved and it is the first device to be approved for sleep by the FDA.
It is exciting to know that there is a new device that can help patients sleep better. This is so important because of the recent fear that over the counter sleep aids have been linked to the developement of Alzheimer’s. The prescription based meds for sleep and the over the counter meds result in decreased alertness. Poor sleep and decreased sleep can cause poor health.
I am excited about this device coming to market. I hope it works as well as projections indicate. It is on schedule to be available in the second half of 2017. I hope insurance companies will be as excited as I am. We need them to pay for the device in order to improve the lives of their covered patients.
Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.