Medical headlines for the week 07/11/22

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Good sleep really matters

Doctors have long known that we need good quality sleep to be healthy.

But the researchers say that in the future, sleep studies could tell doctors a lot about your risk of adverse health effects, such as dementia, cardiovascular events and even diabetes. A study presented at a meeting of the Associated Sleep Professional Societies indicated that sleep data can be exploited for all kinds of medical information. Study participants were separated into three groups based on sleep quality – categorized as poor, fair and good sleep, and the information was categorized based on trends. The research is in its early stages, but doctors say it shows promise.

Nightmares and Parkinson’s disease may have a connection

If you have frequent nightmares, you may want to tell your doctor. New research indicates that older people who start having frequent frightening dreams may have an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers followed nearly 4,000 elderly men for years and found that those who had bad dreams were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease over the next five years. Doctors say people who know they may be at high risk have the potential to stave off it through healthy lifestyle changes, making early intervention important. The study was published in eClinicalMedicine.

Medical records showing portable devices

That wearable device you use to track your daily activities is becoming more and more useful to doctors.

Your Fitbit or smartwatch is logging your steps, of course, but it’s also most likely logging data relevant to your overall health. Things like your heart rate and pace. A recent study of healthcare providers showed that this information ends up in patient records when they discuss the data they see with their doctor. As wearables continue to improve, manufacturers are also using the information to help meet consumer demand. And while they don’t replace clinical care, patients more often rely on them to flag potential issues when talking with their doctors. The study was published in Circulation: quality and cardiovascular results.

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