More than one-quarter of U.S. adults suffer from sleep disturbances that contribute to life-threatening illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia as well as depression, chronic pain, and fatigue. Often such sleeplessness is a consequence of obesity, lifestyle, and work. The Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep-Related Symptom Science is being established to help define and break these cycles of sleeplessness and suffering.
The Center, the brainchild of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing researcher Gayle Page, DNSc, RN, and Michael Smith, PhD, of the Hopkins School of Medicine, is the result of a $1.9-million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center of Excellence Grant. Its mission is to build upon the University’s existing strengths, encourage interdisciplinary partnerships, and expand the scope of sleep-measurement research already underway. “It was the twinkle in both our eyes,” says Page of the Center.
In all, eight Hopkins research projects will be launched or enhanced through the NIH grant.
The three new projects:
• Sharon Kozachik, PhD, RN, will look at interventions for cancer patients whose chemotherapy cycles lead to painful side effects and sleeplessness.
• Nancy Hodgson, PhD, RN, will study the use of reflexology to ease increased suffering caused by poor sleep in people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
• Patrick Finan, PhD, will look at “positive affect” as a mechanism to measure the association of sleep deprivation and pain sensitivity.