Joseph W. Burns, a research scientist and engineer at the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI); Ronald D. Chervin, director of the University of Michigan’s Michael S. Aldrich Sleep Disorders Laboratory; and Leslie Crofford, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Health at the University of Kentucky, report the results of their study in the current issue of the journal Sleep Medicine
MTRI, a freestanding research institute acquired by Michigan Tech in 2006 and based in Ann Arbor, specializes in remote sensors that collect data, and in signal processing, using algorithms or computer programs to analyze and correlate the information the sensors gather. MTRI has developed an ongoing collaboration with the University of Michigan’s sleep laboratory, one of the nation’s leading clinical and research centers specializing in sleep medicine.
This several-year collaboration provided MTRI’s first opportunities to apply quantitative analysis, remote sensing technology and computer algorithms to clinical challenges, said Burns. “In this case, our analyses of sleep stage dynamics suggest potential clinical relevance,” he noted. Newly explored measures of sleep fragmentation seem to correlate—at least in this study—with levels of pain reported by fibromyalgia patients.
Burns, who has a PhD in electrical engineering, finds that more and more of his research is taking a biomedical turn. He and his team are working with Chervin to use signal-processing technology to record and analyze the brain waves and biophysical responses of children and adults with a variety of sleep disorders. They hope it will help them better understand conventional sleep patterns, as well as diagnose and treat sleep disorders.
They presented the results of research related to assessment of sleep-disordered breathing and sleep fragmentation at Sleep 2008, an international sleep research conference, in Baltimore in June.
Patients who may have sleep disorders often undergo complicated and expensive tests in sleep laboratories, Chervin explained. These studies collect an assortment of biophysical data that reflect brain, cardiovascular and muscle activity throughout the night. Up to now, these data had to be analyzed manually by highly trained technicians.
“We are collaborating to find new ways to analyze routinely collected data in a way that will be meaningful to the patient’s health and will help us understand how sleep disorders affect brain functions,” he said.
Automated analysis of data potentially can provide improved assessments and reduce the cost of sleep studies, Burns noted. For example, MTRI and UM have developed an automated technique for assessing the severity of sleep-disordered breathing, using just two signals—brain waves and respiration—instead of the dozen or more signals typically needed for standard visual scoring of a sleep study.
“It may even become possible for people to take sleep tests—simpler and more effective than some of those currently available—at home where they can sleep in their own familiar bedrooms,” he suggested.
Both partners are reaping the benefits of the collaboration, Burns said. Not only can automated technology improve clinical research; what the MTRI scientists have learned about biomedical techniques such as brain mapping is informing their more traditional work on radar and optical sensing technology.
Michigan Tech and UM have patented the new algorithm for assessing sleep-disordered breathing, which enables them to study what the extra work of breathing does to the brainwaves of patients with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing stops briefly many times during sleep. Sleep apnea has been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive changes and other health effects, and to hyperactive behavior in children.
The universities have filed an application for another patent for an algorithm that helps automate the assessment of patients with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. People with this neurological condition act out their dreams during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which can cause them to harm themselves or a bed partner while they are asleep.
Burns and Chervin published the results of that study in the December 2007 issue of the journal Sleep.
The team plans to investigate other sleep disorders and to continue to develop automated processing techniques to improve the performance and efficiency of sleep disorder diagnosis and assessment.
Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university, conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, forestry and environmental sciences, computing, technology, business and economics, natural and physical sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.
Internationally renowned for patient care, research and education, the University of Michigan Health System has been a leader in American medicine for more than a century and a half. UMHS includes the U-M Medical School, three nationally ranked hospitals, 40 outpatient health centers, and a number of specialized programs for treatment and research in cancer, cardiovascular disease, geriatrics, depression, diabetes, vision, women’s health, organ transplant and other specialties. Its biomedical research community is one of the nation’s largest, winning more than $342 million in funding each year while generating more than 120 newly disclosed inventions annually.
Jennifer Donovan | EurekAlert!
PET imaging tracks Zika virus infection, disease progression in mouse model
20.09.2017 | US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy