'Sleep texting' cases are increasing due to stress
Daily stresses, concerns and worries are the main reasons behind an increasing number of cases of ‘sleep texting’, experts have found.
Sleep texting is the phrase used to describe the rare condition in which people use their mobile phones to send text messages while they are asleep.
And according to sleep experts, the rise in the condition not only reflects the day-to-day stresses that people experience, but also reveals how reliant we have become on technology and gadgets.
They also believe the surge in popularity of smartphones makes it more difficult for us to ‘switch off’ from our busy, working lives.
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Dr David Cunnington, from the Melbourne Sleep Disorder Centre in Australia, is just one sleep expert that has experienced an increase in patients reporting cases of sleep texting.
He said: “We have had patients who have reported sending text messages to their friends and family while asleep.
“It is one of those things that happens but it is very rare and certainly not a common trend.
“Because it's so easy to receive emails constantly, and get notifications from smartphones, it becomes more difficult for us to separate our waking and sleep lives,” Cunnington added.
Although health practitioners have acknowledged the existence of sleep texting problems, the condition has not benefitted from any dedicated research or investigations.
However, in 2008 there were studies carried out into a similar problem – ‘sleep emailing’ – at the Ohio’s University of Toledo.
Commenting on the problem of sleep emailing, Dr Cunnington said the problem is likely to have more severe consequences than sleep texting.
“Emails can be sent to work colleagues and have much more serious consequences, whereas text messages are more likely to be accidentally sent to a friend or family member, so people aren't as likely to complain of a problem,” he explained.
Sleep texting and emailing are not the only health problems that have been associated with heavy smartphone use, 'text neck' is another side effect that patients are increasingly seeing their doctors about.
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Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”