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Discussion: SR1 device

in: Bash; Bash > 2016-03-30

Mar 30, 2016 1:32 PM # 
Was just listening to this yesterday.

I don't usually have problems falling asleep but since sleep is so critical for health this seems well worth the investment... if it works and not a gimmick.

BG's individual data certainly backs it up but I'm always unsure if he has vested interest in the devices/supplement he promotes and could fudge the numbers, have a less stressful week than normal to produce those numbers, etc.
Mar 30, 2016 1:41 PM # 
Thanks, I'll take a look at that! I agree with you re BG. Sometimes he has science behind him and sometimes he seems way out there.
Mar 30, 2016 1:52 PM # 
Btw the research that caught my eye says that sleep may be a factor in fending off Alzheimer's, even in people who are genetically predisposed, which I don't think I am.
Mar 30, 2016 2:49 PM # 
Good to know. I just got back my 23andme results and found I have a gene that gives me a higher probability of Alz :( Another good reason for more sleep.
Mar 30, 2016 2:51 PM # 
I have recently discovered that listening to someone talking (i.e., usually a mellow lecture-style podcast) helps me fall asleep. You wouldn't think this would work since usually activities like reading or watching a TV show keep me up -- I have to know what's next! But somehow focusing on listening to somebody else keeps my brain from running. I usually set the podcast to stop after 30 minutes but I think I am rarely awake for more than 15.

Of course, having an 8-month old is probably also a contributor to falling asleep more easily, so YMMV. :-)
Mar 30, 2016 3:48 PM # 
Cristina, when I'm trying to sleep on a plane, I've had excellent luck with turning the volume down and playing a podcast that is "good for me", e.g. an expert droning on about 18th century art history. It helps to be shallow, I guess. I've never tried it at home in the middle of the night when my brain wakes up. Good idea.

Harps, I was wondering how your 23andme turned out. I think it's still more likely that someone with one or two copies of that gene will *not* get Alzheimer's, is that right? You are the best equipped of any of us to research that topic thoroughly!

I recently heard an Endurance Planet podcast that discussed those tests. Maybe you did too. The medical doctor being interviewed didn't recommend them generally because:

1) Adults often already know things they might find out, e.g. they are more suited to endurance than sprint races, or they are more sensitive to caffeine than average.

2) If you do have a higher risk for some condition, usually the only thing you can do about it is eat a healthy diet, exercise and sleep well - the same things you should be doing if you don't take the test.

The doc didn't see any harm in genetic testing; in fact, he is planning to do one himself. He just thought it might not be cost effective compared to more frequent/detailed blood and urine tests, which show how your body is actually behaving and partially reflect the genes that are expressed (as opposed to those that are there, but never expressed).

He said genetic tests might be helpful for some people who have a family history of something and want to know if they have a gene indicating higher risk, which not everyone wants to know. The problematic gene might never express itself so it can lead to unnecessary anxiety for people who have trouble putting it into context. (I doubt you are one of them.) He did say that genetic tests will provide more info in future as scientists continue to learn more so the tests will become more valuable over time.
Mar 30, 2016 5:28 PM # 
Not sure about the cost effective of these tests vs blood tests. But the fact I didn't have to do a blood draw and the data was presented in an easy online visual for which I could review at any time was worth the $200 in my view.

I wanted it mainly to see what I have given my children and what they could be at risk of inheriting. It's nice to see all the data presented... who doesn't love data?!?! Some surprises in there - i.e. I am more suited to sprinting than endurance and while I have no recent family history of Alz I still was at a higher genetic risk... So both things offhand that I recall were unexpected. I didn't nor will lose any sleep over the results, other than Alz the rest was good and probably better than I expected. So I'm glad I did it but I know some others I've spoken with at work (statisticians and data scientists) who don't want to know their own data?!

Re: Alz and risk, yes, I carry a gene that has been linked (i.e. higher occurrence of Alz with patients with this gene) to Alz but certainly doesn't imply I will get it or even likely to get it. Just at a higher (genetic) risk than others without the gene. And, as you mentioned, I can reduce my overall risk by exercise, sleep, etc.

There's been a lot of focus in the pharma industry on patient (genetic) specific needs (oncology treatment for those with gene X postive, etc.; gone are the days of blockbuster cure for all drugs) and patient access to their own data. Eventually we will see the day where patients self diagnose and recommend a treatment for themselves based on their own genetics and specific medicine to their genetic make-up.
Mar 30, 2016 6:48 PM # 
I think the doc mentioned a cost of $500 but he is British. $200 is a deal.

I'm with you that I'd rather have more data. If I had children, I'd be especially keen to get tested. My Mom got tested for BRCA (negative) because she wanted us to have more info and I'm grateful she did. Our family is small so there's no way to know whether a relative with cancer is significant.

I would expect statisticians to be able to put this data into perspective in their own lives so I'm surprised about your colleagues. I'll bet lots of people would get freaked out though. I guess at this point, testing is uncommon enough that most people who get tested should have some understanding of risks and probabilities.

Re the final point, that is really exciting stuff! There was a lot of talk about that in the multiple myeloma community, which I was following for 10 years after Dad's diagnosis. Even at the start, there were several common genetic abnormalities that indicated better or worse prognosis, and thus could provide guidance on disease management. We had to go to the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. since the tests weren't easily available in Ontario but it was great to get that extra info, all of which was good news. Now they are talking about exactly the things you mention - streaming patients into different treatment protocols right from the start. Very encouraging.

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