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

November 23, 2016

The weird and wonderful non-medical tech gadgets for sleep….

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 2:26 am

PT_weired and wonderful gadgets2We in the world of sleep science know the evidence suggests that using electronic gadgets close to bed time is not good for you. However this does not necessarily mean we can avoid our phones all together, and that perhaps our phones and tablets could one day help us get a better nights rest. Sadly, we need to remember that not all products actually do what they claim to do… Here are some quirky gadgets that promote a better nights rest:

Sleep Genius

PT_weird and wonderful gadgetsWhile an apt description of the author of this piece, the Sleep Genius is actually an application designed by NASA. It claims to be able to identify your natural bedtime and tells you to go to bed when that time is near… Who doesn’t want to feel like an 8 year old again? Good work NASA.


PT_weird and wonderful gadgets1Aura is a three part system, which comprises of an alarm clock + a light, a mat and software for your phone. Aura will tell you the room temperature, the light levels and sound levels over night. They claim to be able to tell what stage of your sleep you are in, and improve your sleep with light displays and soothing online music. While writing this article, the author could not find any compelling evidence of this product’s accuracy or effectiveness in aiding or identifying sleep. This is not to say that this product does not work. Once asleep however, a fancy and expensive night light is not likely to help improve your sleep cycles.

NightwavePT_weird and wonderful gadgets4

Nightwave is essentially a light. It’s a blue light. It flashes, dims and is designed to help us get off to sleep by having us breathe along with the changes of light. Similar to children clapping along to songs. Seriously though, breathing and other meditative techniques may be helpful for those of us experiencing insomnia and are often used cognitive behavioural psychology. However we must consider that the one colour of light in the entire light spectrum that has been proven to increase alertness and promote wakefulness is blue light. Blue light is actually a treatment for jet lag and circadian rhythm disorders.  Better change the bulb Nightwave.


November 22, 2016

Sleep related Gastroesophageal Reflux

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 6:08 am

Gastroesophageal reflux is commonly known as heartburn, and it’s quite common with about one in ten people in the community suffering from this condition each and every day! About one third of the population are thought to experience reflux every week, so chances are someone you know experiences reflux very regularly. Reflux is the regurgitation of stomach contents into the oesophagus (see picture), sleep related gastroesophageal reflux occurs during sleep and may cause you to wake up. About 75% of people who get reflux 2-3 times per week will also complain of reflux after waking from sleep.

PT_sleep refluxReflux can bPT_Sleep related Gastroesophageal Reflux.rtfe quite painful, often described as a burning sensation with this usually occurring between the stomach and the throat. It is thought that this pain is caused by the gastric contents, generally acidic, irritating the oesophageal mucosa (the lining of the oesophagus). The most common cause of this “leaking” of gastric juices into the oesophagus is the sphincter relaxation between the stomach and the oesophagus (see picture). This holds true for both wake and sleep related reflux. Sadly, this condition (reflux both awake and sleep related) is rarely cured.

If you think you may have reflux, either when you are awake or when you wake up from sleep you should make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss this.

November 18, 2016

Sleep and Marriage

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 1:04 am

SleepandMarriageSometimes people believe that to maintain a happy marriage it needs expensive gifts, romantic breaks or big bunches of flowers but the science show us that the secret to a happy marriage is a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep is vital for every aspect of your life.

Psychologists have found that having a healthy sleep means partners are less likely to focus on the negative aspects of their relationship.

There are many ways how sleep deprivation affects the marriage, some of these are:

  1. You’re less thankful: gratitude is reduced due to sleep deprivation.
  2. You fight more (with less empathy): studies have shown that tired couples have less empathy for one another when trying to reach conflict resolution.
  3. Your aren’t able to make decisions: sleep deprivation, “makes us easily distracted, reckless, less innovative, and less able to integrate information”
  4.  You affect everyone around you: when the woman does not get sufficient sleep both partners reported having similar negative responses to their spouse the following day.
  5. You have negative feelings: when couples sync their sleep and wake times, the result is there are more overall good vibes in their marriage. This means if you’re out of sync, you could experience more negativity and decreased relationship satisfaction.

A new study suggests that couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with their marriage. Results show that overall synchrony in sleep-wake schedules among couples was high, as those who slept in the same bed were awake or asleep at the same time about 75 percent of the time. When the wife reported higher marital satisfaction, the percent of time the couple was awake or asleep at the same time was greater.

Researchers say sleep also helps to restore function in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages self-control, which is thought to improve our perception of relationships



  • AUTUMN JONES. APR 13 2016. 7 Ways Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Marriage.
  • Secret Happy Marriage. Daily mail
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2014, June 5). Couples sleep in sync when wife is satisfied with their marriage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2016 from

Farewell to our Post-Graduate student

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 12:50 am

Griffith 1aFarewell to Tegan who has been on work placement with us at TSGQ for the past 5 weeks. Tegan is completing her post-graduate studies in clinical physiology at Griffith University. As a part of this curriculum, Tegan is required to work 200 hours in two separate disciplines within the field of clinical measurements (i.e. Sleep, Respiratory, Cardiac and Neurophysiology). Tegan chose to complete her second placement with us here at TSGQ in Respiratory science. Clearly TSGQ was a good choice by Tegan, she was expertly trained by our respiratory scientist Mark Russell-Pavier in a whole range of respiratory laboratory procedures including; spirometry, gas transfer tests, lung volume tests, bronchial provocation tests, FeNO (fractional expired nitric oxide) tests, 6 minute walk tests, and cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET).Griffith4

In addition to performing procedures, Tegan was taught another very important lesson to be learned by students looking to work in clinical environments; how to best interact with your patients and your fellow clinicians. We here at TSGQ have a strong belief in  treating our patients as more than a number, we are here for our patients and this needs to always be our priority. We try to instill this into our students. It is important for any of us who work in health sciences to really work hard to achieve the best results possible for our patients and be proud of the hard work that we do.

Tegan also presented a case study in respiratory science to her fellow student cohort, past students (alumni), industry representatives and some university faculty. Some of our team from TSGQ were present to cheer her on and give her some support in what was her final assessment in the course. We all felt she did a great job, and feel she should surely be excited for the next chapter in her young career.

Griffith3A big thank you to Tegan, and all the best for your future from the team here at TSGQ!

November 14, 2016

Why this parasitic worm could hold the key to curing asthma.

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 5:04 am

Worms could hold the key to curing asthma after scientists discovered they secrete a protein which dampens down the immune system and prevents the body over-reacting to allergens. The secretion from hookworms was found to prevent inflammation in human cells and suppress asthma completely in mice.

Hookworms are tiny parasites which are able to survive in the body by sending out chemicals to stifle the immune system. Scientists have already shown that conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be suppressed by ingesting parasites, but now scientists have isolated the protein responsible, called AIP-2.

Professor Alex Loukas from James Cook University has described the finding as an exciting development which brings scientists a step closer to putting a pill-based treatment into clinical trials. Professor Loukas has also stated this therapy will not only benefit asthma sufferers but also for other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

In their initial work Professor Loukas and team infected trial participants with actual hookworms and established the protective properties lie in the oral secretions. More recently, the team has isolated AIP-2 from the secretion mixture and manufactured a variant form of the protein in large quantities.

The protein, AIP-2, was tested on human cells from people allergic to dust mites, which are known to trigger asthma.  It was found to prevent inflammation and even change pro-inflammatory immune cells into anti-inflammatory cells, which can protect the whole body.

The use of hookworm derived protein as a suppression agent in allergic asthma is an interesting area of research in considering allergic disease modulation and paves the way for further research in this area.


Story source:

November 7, 2016

Are there potential dangers in using apps to track your sleep?

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 5:27 am

We are in the era of smart applications; people want to use their smartphone applications (apps) to track everything that they do. People commonly are interested in improving their health and fitness, and as a result, the number of apps dedicated to these issues has grown rapidly.
Some people often calculate how many calories they are consuming, how many steps they walk daily and now they are interested to track the amount of sleep that they achieve every night. These apps with sleep have a broad range of functions, including smart-alarm clocks, sleep aids, sound recording during sleep, and sleep analysis. For most people, using a monitor to track sleep is not going to be a problem. In fact, according to Sleep Health Foundation it might help some people understand and review their sleep and wake patterns, and this may ultimately improve their sleep. For example, noticing a pattern of repeatedly going to bed late and sleeping less than required may help the user adjust their sleep habits to allow for longer sleep, they argue.
The problem is in the false data that these could provide. Many apps provide data on sleep structure; nevertheless the algorithms are not validated by scientific literature or studies. Since patients may inquire about their sleep habits from these apps, it is necessary for physicians to be aware of the most common apps and the features offered and their limitations in order to properly counsel patients.
If people have a sleep disorder, tracking sleep with one of these monitors might give you some false data. It could also create more anxiety about not getting ‘enough’ sleep and lead to more difficulty sleeping. It may have importance in increasing the user’s awareness of sleep matters, but it is not yet precise to be used as a clinical tool or replace the accurate diagnosis.

• Adrian A. Ong, , M. Boyd Gillespie. Overview of smartphone applications for sleep analysis. World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2016, Pages 45–49
• Sleep Health Foundation. Sleep Tracker technology. Available on:,

ZZZZ… Houston we have a problem.

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 4:46 am

Does being in space change your sleep patterns? The European Space Agency are looking to find out. Currently they have astronauts in space testing this very question. How do they do it? They are monitoring the body temperature of the astronauts. They do this using a thermometer attached to the forehead of the astronauts. Temperature, believe it or not, is actually a good way to monitor the body clock. Temperature is an integral part of sleep regulation, in fact your body temperature fluctuates during the day in response to your circadian rhythm (circadian rhythm is often referred to as the body clock).  The astronauts are monitored before, during and after the mission and when those high flyers get back down to earth we may have some idea of what space travel does to the body clock.

View the full article here:|Studying%20Circadian%20Rhythm%20on%20the%20International%20Space%20Station&spMailingID=15797698&spUserID=MzE2NTE1Mzc2NDc0S0&spJobID=900609826&spReportId=OTAwNjA5ODI2S0

November 3, 2016

CPAP mask choices – Do I need a Nasal Mask or a Full Faced Mask?

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 6:44 am

For new patients diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), you will require an initial CPAP titration sleep study. During this study your sleep technician might trial one or two different type of masks. Generally in the first instance you will trial a nasal mask. A nasal mask is recommended first because an effective seal with a nasal mask can be better achieved than with a full-faced mask. Sometimes with a full-faced mask the straps may be adjusted too tightly causing the jaw to be pulled backwards making the back of the tongue block the airway and potentially increase the occurrence of apnoea’s, thus interfering with the effectiveness of your CPAP treatment. The effectiveness of your CPAP therapy can be dependent upon choosing the correct CPAP mask. After you have been applying the CPAP therapy for some time and you have a review CPAP titration sleep study you will be asked to bring your current mask. As there are often new masks available this will be the perfect opportunity to trial the mask without having to purchase the mask first.

Finding the right CPAP mask for you is essential when trying to achieve the best possible results from your CPAP therapy. If you are new to CPAP therapy there are a wide range of masks available and if you have been using CPAP therapy long-term, there may be a new mask on the market that is more comfortable and effective than your current mask. When trying to find the right CPAP mask for you please consider the following;

  • What type of mask’s are there?
    • nasal with pillows
    • nasal without pillows
    • full-faced mask
  • Do I need a chinstrap?
    • If you use a nasal mask and you tend to open your mouth when you sleep you will require a chinstrap.
  • Does the mask fit comfortably?
    • Are the straps too tight?
    • Does the mask frame irritate your face?
  • Do you have the correct size of cushion of your mask?
    • Nasal masks – fitting around your nose or under the nostrils without air leaking
    • Full faced mask – fitting around your nose and mouth without air leaking.

As problems arise adjusting to CPAP therapy these can sometimes be associated with mask issues. So it is important for you to be comfortable with your mask and ensure a correct fitting. It is recommended that you pay sufficient attention to the exact nature of the problem and have the issue resolved by a competent commercial CPAP equipment-provider. At the Wesley CPAP clinic we have well-trained CPAP educators that are available to assist you with mask fittings. During an initial or review CPAP sleep study our highly trained sleep technicians are able to determine if your current or new mask is effective, and if you are using the appropriate type of mask.

November 2, 2016

Essential Medical Equipment Payment

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 5:29 am

When you are diagnosed with a medical condition that requires medical equipment to use at home the establishment costs can be overwhelming, not to mention the expense can be ongoing. If it is necessary to use these devices daily they can add extra electricity usage to your daily electrical requirements. There is funding available from the Australian Government to assist you with the additional cost of operating medically required equipment that requires heating or cooling, in your own home. For example if you require a CPAP machine or a nebuliser that must be operated daily in your own home, you may be eligible for the government payment. The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is an annual payment of around $152 to assist with the cost of your additional electricity expense by having to use these machines daily at home.

Firstly establish if you are using the following eligible medical equipment;

  • Positive airways pressure device (CPAP machine)
  • Home ventilator
  • Home respirator
  • Home dialysis machine
  • Oxygen concentrator
  • Nebuliser – used daily
  • Electric wheelchair
  • Heart pump
  • Suction pump
  • Insulin pump

Secondly determine if you are eligible for this payment;

  • Covered by a Commonwealth concession card
  • Provide proof* that the heating or cooling or specified equipment is medically required
  • You are responsible, either wholly or partly, for meeting the energy costs associated with running the equipment.

*The proof you require has to be certified by a Medical Practitioner.

Finally you can apply for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment online, please go to the website to find out further information.

Anatomy of Rest

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 5:01 am

BBC Radio 4 has just aired a three-part series, The Anatomy of Rest. It distilled the work of a group of neuroscientists, poets, psychologists, musicians, and philosophers, who have spent two years enquiring into the nature of rest – its importance to us, what’s going on in our brains while we’re doing it, and what the consequences are if we don’t get enough.

Rest appears to be markedly different for different people. For a minority, it means doing nothing and allowing the mind to wander. For most, resting is much more active. Reading gained the most votes among the 18,000 respondents in the show’s “Rest Test”, closely followed by getting out into nature, with listening to music the third most popular choice. For some others still, rest involves undertaking vigorous exercise. With such varied responses, what exactly is rest?

Well, the common theme, even for the most extroverted among us: the things we consider restful usually involve doing something on our own, away from other people.

To learn more about rest, and sleep in general, listen to the three part radio series on BBC iPlayer. The Anatomy of Rest is available on BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks.


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