RESEARCH QUESTION -- Bed Danger

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RESEARCH QUESTION--
Bed Danger

by R. Schoolcraft, AIR staff

How dangerous is it to stay in bed? Evidence continues to mount, indicating that the danger level is high, or low, or perhaps even moderate. The question is hotly debated.

New Cause for Concern

The latest alarm comes from Patrick Vojta and other researchers at the US. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Harvard University, and Westat, Inc. Their press release says there is "plenty of cause for concern in terms of dust mite and cockroach allergens at levels associated with asthma and allergies."

The press release also explains that "The study was selected as one of only 25, out of the approximately 5,000 presented, to be highlighted for special media attention by organizers of the ALA/ATS meeting."

To be highlighted for special media attention by the organizers of a meeting is remarkable. It indicates that the research must be important, at least in the view of the media as jusged by the organizers of the meeting.

Creepy-Crawly Stuff

The bed has long been known to be a crowded and dangerous place. The definining word on creepy things abed is the classic report:

"A Bed Ecosystem," J.E.M.H. van Bronswijk, Lecture Abstracts--1st Benelux Congress of Zoology, Leuven, 4-5 November, 1994. (Thanks to Gabriel NŹve for bringing it to our attention.)

It is a provocative, itch-inducing read, well worth a trip to the library.

Rise and Be Healed

The great cautionary bleat about bed rest was sent recently in the form of a medical report:

"Bed Rest: A Potentially Harmful Treatment Needing More Careful Evaluation," Chris Allen, Paul Glaszious, and Chris Del Mar, The Lancet, vol. 354, October 9 1999, p. 1229. The authors conclude that bed rest by itself doesn't necessarily help you get well, especially if you are ill.

A Loud Wake-Up Call

In some cases, the greatest impediment to sound sleep -- and perhaps to sound health -- is sound itself. This is explained in the report:

"The Snoring Spectrum—Acoustic Assessment of Snoring Sound Intensity in 1,139 Individuals Undergoing Polysomnography," Kent Wilson, Riccardo A. Stoohs, et al., Chest, vol. 115, no. 3, March 1999; pp. 762-70. The authors, who are at the University of Minnesota, the Dortmund [Germany] Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center St. Joseph's Hospital [Minneapolis], and the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center find that:

"The noise generated by snoring can disturb or disrupt a snorer's sleep, as well as the sleep of a bed partner.... The average levels of snoring sound intensity were significantly higher for men than for women."

Perhaps it is better to sleep on the floor. On that question, however, more research is needed.

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