Takeaways: 2022 Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine Fall Conference

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Held in late October in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the MASM 2022 Conference was an Educational Two-Day Event for Attendees

The Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine hosted the 2022 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan two weekends ago, and it was a valuable event for sleep professionals in attendance. There were three key takeaways from the event that spread beyond the Michigan sleep community. First: there is a lot of excitement regarding the future of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in healthcare. Next, the CCSH is going to continue to be an important piece for technologists who want to advance their careers. And finally, poor sleep affects so many aspects of our lives. That was evident in what was an outstanding presentation on sleep fragmentation and PTSD. With that, here are my three main takeaways from the 2022 MASM Conference.

Dr. Cathy Goldstein Dreams About AI Possibilities 

One session that captivated the audience was the presentation from Dr. Cathy Goldstein, MD. A founding member of the AASM’s Artificial Intelligence in Sleep Medicine Committee, Dr. Goldstein is one of the premier thought leaders when it comes to the real-world application and impact of AI in sleep medicine. That’s why everyone was so engaged during her (sadly, too short) presentation. 

Listening to Dr. Goldstein’s aspirations about what we could learn about health from future AI technology was a highlight of the conference. She spoke passionately about the potential of predicting future health conditions using AI technology, which could provide opportunities for earlier interventions and even prevention. Unfortunately, she literally ran out of time, as she simply couldn’t share all there is to know about AI and sleep medicine in a short hour. I’m looking forward to the next time Dr. Goldstein shares her wisdom on this important topic. 

The CCSH is the Talk of the Town

Another big takeaway from the 2022 MASM conference was how much the Certification in Clinical Sleep Health (CCSH) is going to affect sleep techs. There was a lot of talk about the CCSH, specifically the expanding role of the sleep technologist during side conversations. Questions like: “Can we make healthcare better by increasing education for patients, therefore, increasing compliance?”

The answer should be a resounding, “YES!” 

Sleep techs – including myself in the past – can feel as though all the diagnostic work, the up-front education, and the time we provide to patients is for naught if patients end up not continuing their treatment. Sleep coaches, sleep navigators, sleep educators, and other sleep professionals who are working to help patients maintain compliance with their treatment really can go a long way to improving patient outcomes. 

Sleep Affects Every Phase of Life

The final takeaway to share from the 2022 MASM Conference is one anyone reading this article likely knows already: sleep affects everything! 

This was very evident during an excellent presentation from the Director of the Ann Arbor VA Sleep Disorders Center, Dr. Qurratul Aine Shamim-Uzzaman. In her presentation, Dr. Shamim-Uzzaman spoke about the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sleep. 

Dr. Shamim-Uzzaman explained how poor sleep affects the emotional processing of trauma. Fragmented REM stages lead to the amygdala, the part of the brain that blunts emotional reactivity, to not be suppressed, resulting in worsened PTSD-related experiences. 

In other words, poor sleep prior to a traumatic event leads to a higher incidence of PTSD.

Additionally, poor sleep can slow the healing process. In fact, sleep fragmentation must be improved if patients want to reduce their PTSD symptoms and the frequency of PTSD-related events and episodes. 

This important research and topic is another reason why it is important to continue to dive into the secrets of sleep medicine. Thank you to Dr. Shamim-Uzzaman for sharing the interesting research.

Looking Ahead After the 2022 MASM Conference

Finally, thank you to the team that put together an awesome agenda for the 2022 MASM conference. The presentations were great, and the people were better. Until next year. 

Jessica Moore BS, RPSGT, first registered for sleep in 2001. Two decades later, she has worked with the AASM accreditation team at Dickinson County Healthcare System Sleep Clinic, as a Lead Sleep Technologist for 15 years at WVUH-East Center for Sleep Medicine, and recently, she joined the EnsoData team as a Regional Sales Manager.

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