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Much sleep research is being done throughout the world , by scientists in over sixty nations. Frequently research is done cooperatively between different sleep labs in different institutions or even different countries. (2) Anam came from Bonn, Germany, so she could study in the sleep lab at the University of Arizona (3). Peter has worked on analyzing data which was collected in Australia for a recently completed study, and is now working cooperatively with a sleep lab in Canada on another project (4). As any one sleep lab may only have a couple of experiments going on simultaneously in the data collection phases, they will often be helping to analyze data collected elsewhere, as in these studies mentioned.
So, who are the research subjects? Usually people from the community, who it is anticipated may have somewhat more traditional or stabilized sleep routines than the college student population. Sometimes subjects are recruited from newspaper ads, sometimes through hospitals or patient groups.
Often, subjects participating from home (as opposed to in the lab) have difficulty remembering to fill out their sleep diary, an important tool for researchers to keep track of data. To overcome this obstacle, researchers sometimes allow the subjects to phone in their sleep diary entries to a phone line on a daily basis. Other times they will use a phone buddy system in which two prompt each other to record their sleep diary information each morning soon after awakening.
Peter and Dr. Bootzin both talked about the use of computer hardware and software that greatly facilitated recording and analysis of sleep data, including packages called "Rhythm" and "InStep," to help with digitized frequency analysis, performance measures (such as reaction tests). Although some programs do the equivalent of visual "scoring" of sleep studies, Peter notes that there are still enough individual variations to warrant human checking of the computer's "judgments." Some of the software allows far greater precision than traditional methods of observation, such as the "Instep" software which helps both to present the stimuli in the experiment, then captures each reaction one second after the stimuli are introduced--finer tuning than could be done manually by a technician.
As far as Dr. Richard Bootzin's research, he has published extensively, and some of his continuing interests have been in insomnia and cognitive processing during sleep. The lab plans to start soon a project on use of environmental stimuli during the night, to test the disruption of sleep and the memory of sounds. Whereas many previous tests have involved word stimuli, this test will use sounds such as a baby's crying or an airplane noise. Dr. Bootzin will present a recently completed study done with colleagues in Australia at the World Federation of Sleep Research Societies International Conference to be held in Dresden, Germany, in October. Dr. Bootzin and his colleagues examined the effects of bright light and behavioral treatment for insomnia. They found that stimulus control and use of bright-light therapy are equally effective. Each works much better than use of a traditional "red light" therapy (which helps sleep structure but not the psychological measures of "good sleep"). As a combination, these two productive therapies did not have a greater effect than using one or the other.
Mr. Lawrence Allen helps out with research at the Bayview Medical Center's sleep lab. There, they are searching for alternative treatments for sleep apnea.
The World Federation of Sleep Research Societies (WFSRS) was begun iin 1987. "Its mission was and is to encourage international collaborations, facilitate the generation and dissemination of information, and increase public awareness of the importance of sleep research and the impact of sleep disorders". The WFSRS is a Federation of societies of different nations and individuals, of over 3500 sleep scientists and physicians. "During the past eight years, the WFSRS has become the preeminent forum for the presentation of all aspects of sleep research and the treatment of sleep disorders." The latest in current sleep research findings will be presented at their Third International Conference is scheduled for Dresden, Germany, in Oct. 5-9, 1999. (5)
To keep up with current research, many sleep researchers or students will want to subscribe to NAPS, a free current awareness service run by email. See URL: http://www.websciences.org/naps/alert/naps.htm
Another useful way to keep up with the scholarly sleep research is to follow Sleep Research Online, a free electronic journal available on the web.(6)
(1) Bootzin, Richard. Interview by Emilie Sutterlin. Tucson, AZ, Psychology Dept., University of Arizona, Mar. 30, 1999.
(2)This TQ team's "home continent" sleep research societies are:
European Sleep Research Society http://www.esrs.org/European Sleep Research Society
Latin American Sleep Research Society http://www.wfsrs.org/ilass.html
Sleep Research Society [U.S.] http://bisleep.medsch.ucla.edu/SRS/
Canadian Sleep Society ,Canadienne du Sommeil: http://www.css.to/
(3) Al-Shajlawi, Anam. Interview of graduate student from Germany at sleep research lab by Emilie Sutterlin. Tucson, AZ, University of Arizona, Mar. 30, 1999.
(4) Franzen, Peter. Interview of graduate student at sleep research lab by Emilie Sutterlin. Tucson, AZ, U. of Arizona, Mar. 30, 1999.
(5)The World Federation of Sleep Research Societies includes Asian Sleep Research Society (ASRS) Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) Canadian Sleep Society (CSS) European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) Latin American Sleep Society (LASS) Sleep Research Society (United States) (SRS), "with over 3500 sleep scientists and physicians. http://www.wfsrs.org/1generalinfo.shtml
(6)Sleep Research Online, available free as an electronic journal at www.sro.org[an error occurred while processing this directive]