Thoracic and Sleep Group Queensland People caring for how you breathe and sleep

January 9, 2015

PreModern People don’t get more zzzz’s than we do!

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 9:51 am

It’s tempting to believe that people these days aren’t getting enough sleep, living as we do in our well-lit houses with TVs blaring, cell phones buzzing, and a well-used coffee maker in every kitchen. But new evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers–living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life–don’t get any more sleep than we do.

Those traditional people sleep a little under 6.5 hours a night on average. They don’t take regular naps. They don’t go to sleep at dark, either. In other words, their sleep habits don’t look so different from ours, although they usually do wake up before the sun rises.

“The short sleep in these populations challenges the belief that sleep has been greatly reduced in the ‘modern world,'” says Jerome Siegel of the University of California, Los Angeles. “This has important implications for the idea that we need to take sleeping pills because sleep has been reduced from its ‘natural level’ by the widespread use of electricity, TV, the Internet, and so on.”

To get a handle on how people slept before the modern era, Siegel and his colleagues looked to three traditional human hunter-gatherer societies: the Hadza of Tanzania, the San of Namibia, and the Tsimane of Bolivia. The researchers recorded the sleeping habits of 94 individuals around the clock to collect data representing 1,165 days in all.

What they found was a surprising similarity across those three groups. “Despite varying genetics, histories, and environments, we find that all three groups show a similar sleep organization, suggesting that they express core human sleep patterns, probably characteristic of pre-modern-era Homo sapiens,” Siegel says.

Group sleep time averaged between 5.7 and 7.1 hours, with between 6.9 and 8.5 hours between the beginning and end of the sleep period. Those amounts are at the low end of durations reported in “industrial societies.”

Hunter-gatherers sleep an hour more in the winter than they do in the summer. Although they lack electric lights, none of the groups went to sleep with the sun. On average, they stayed up a little over three hours after the sun went down and woke up before sunrise.

It appears that their sleep time may have more to do with temperature than with light. Those ancient groups all went to sleep as the temperature fell and slept through the coldest part of the night.

There is one important way in which hunter-gatherers aren’t like us: very few of them suffer from chronic insomnia–a common complaint in the US. That raises an interesting possibility, the researchers say.

“Mimicking aspects of the natural environment experienced by these groups might be effective in treating certain modern sleep disorders, particularly insomnia, a disorder affecting more than 20 percent of the US population,” Siegel says.

The authors were supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and the National Science Foundation.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Cell PressNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Yetish et al. Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial SocietiesCurrent Biology, 2015 DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.046

TSGQ at Brisbane General Practioners Conference & Exhibition

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 9:49 am

September 11th-13th saw the annual GPCE take place at the Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre and once again TSGQ were in attendance to provide continued support and education to practioners from all areas of the healthcare sector. Our sleep and respiratory scientists were on hand to provide the latest information on research and emerging technologies as well as demonstrate our first class polysomnographic patient setup.

The GPCE is Australia’s leading event for general practice which showcased the elite of medical service providers. In addition to product information the educational workshops and specialist presentations delivered the most concise, up-to-date information in medicine. TSGQ Director and Thoracic and Sleep specialist, Dr Andrew Scott, was awarded the esteemed task of giving the closing presentation which focussed on the differing aspects of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) between men and women. Further to this, Dr Scott’s presentation included specialist information regarding the use of Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) in the treatment of OSA.

As a thank you to all practioners who attended the booth TSGQ ran a fantastic competition. The lucky grand prize winner was……..(drum roll):

Dr Richard Kidd of Nundah Doctor’s Surgery who received a Wireless Speaker Hamper which included a Red Beats by Dr Dre Pill Wireless Speaker, Water Jug filled with toffies, box of Lindt chocolates, Bottle of Wine, Compendium, Sleep Book and Set of glass coasters.

Cystic fibrosis and why treatments for bacterial infections may only work in parts of the lung

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 9:49 am

In the study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, researchers dissected ten pairs of lungs removed from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients at the time of transplant and found that populations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium which causes chronic infections in CF, became regionally isolated, driving diversification.


These clonally related P. aeruginosa populations had different phenotypes depending on where the colony was in the lung. In studying mildly and severely diseased lung regions, the team found the bacteria differed in their nutritional requirements and antibiotic resistance. The results suggest that this pathogen diversification arises from the heterogeneous spatial conditions inside the lung, caused by diseases such as CF.


These findings help to explain why CF treatments only work in certain areas of the lung. Furthermore, where the treatment is effective on a region, there may be phenotypically different bacteria capable of moving into the space thus created, furthering the chronic infection.


Air pollution causing 17% of deaths in China

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 9:48 am

The research, conducted by Berkley Earth, a non-profit organisation studying climate change and related issues, used hourly air pollution data from over 1500 sites, made available by the Chinese government.


The research team produced pollution maps for eastern China, which was found to have the highest levels of pollution – as previously thought – but other areas also experienced significant levels; on average, 38% of people living in China were found to experience unhealthy concentrations of pollutants.


The data from the Chinese national reporting system focuses on six pollutants: particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.


The team are publishing four months of their data in PLOS ONE later this month but have also released 16 months of data on their website. The data showed that air pollution was associated with 4,000 deaths each day.


China’s use of coal has fallen dramatically this year despite a continued rise in the country’s GDP. In the first four months of 2015 coal use fell by 8% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5%, compared with the same period in 2014.1


Air pollution affects almost every person in the world and ERS supports actions to tackle climate change, notably through the Healthy Lungs for Life ‘Breathe Clean Air’ campaign.


In October, the European Parliament will vote on the National Emissions Ceiling Directive strengthened by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee in July 2015 to include binding emission reduction targets for ammonia, methane, mercury, PM2.5, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide.

European Respiratory Society

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