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Note to people with scarred and stiffened lungs: Monitor your sleep before severe fatigue sets in
Date:7/29/2008

Family, friends and neighbors remember Lisa Sandler Spaeth as an active mother of two in Potomac, Md., with a lot on the go, juggling her son's baseball games and her daughter's horseback-riding lessons with numerous committee obligations, organizing women's activities at her local synagogue. Add to this Spaeth's thriving home business turned wholesale supplier - making custom hair accessories for children - which she founded with her mother.

But Spaeth was also diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a hard-to-treat disease that progressively damages the lungs and starves the body of oxygen. For two years after her diagnosis, until her death in May 2007, at age 44, Spaeth was beset by fatigue. Her energy levels sank as her lungs deteriorated. Breathing became difficult, and she could no longer attend many of the sporting events, trade fairs and women's groups that filled her life.

It is with people like Spaeth in mind that researchers at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have found what is likely to be the first evidence linking the extreme fatigue in the lung-scarring disease, which has no known cause, to the poor quality of sleep that results - as much as a 25 percent loss in body-rejuvenating R.E.M. sleep. And they have also gauged the detrimental effects this has on people's daily lives, nearly halving test scores used to assess physical and mental quality of life.

In a report appearing this month in the journal Chest, senior study investigator and pulmonologist Sonye Danoff, M.D., Ph.D., who treated Spaeth, found more than twice the amount of nighttime sleep disturbances and double the number of daytime episodes of drowsiness among 41 men and women with so-called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis than in people with healthy lungs.

"Physicians should strongly consider monitoring people with this scarring lung disease for sleep disorders as part of their standard care, because poor sleep has a profound effect on their
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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