63. Sleep research in the USA12 May 2011 at 19:25 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | 6 Comments
Tags: Chronobiology, Circadian rhythm, Diagnosis, Sleep disorder, Sleep research
Funding of sleep research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is prioritized according to the National Sleep Disorders Research Plan. The plan resulted from 1993 legislation establishing the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research with the mandate, in part, to:
- Conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other activities with respect to a basic understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, including research on biological and circadian rhythms, chronobiology, and other sleep-related topics.
The first such plan was dated 1996. The second and current one is from 2003: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/res_plan/sleep-rplan.pdf
The present Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board, chaired by Charles A. Czeisler and with Michael Twery as Executive Director, has been working for a year or so on a revision. The 2011 research plan will provide a guide for future scientific sleep and circadian research, both basic and clinical.
While the 2003 plan is organized under such headings as Basic sleep science, Enabling technology, and Pediatrics, the 2011 plan will be organized around research goals.
The draft of April 2011 contains five goals. They are concerned with, in short version:
- Sleep and circadian functions and mechanisms
- Factors contributing to sleep and circadian disorders and disturbances
- Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sleep and circadian disorders and circadian disruption
- Dissemination of sleep and circadian research findings
- Sleep and circadian research training, to accelerate the pace of discovery
There appears to be a greatly increased emphasis on circadian disorders and research in this draft. The word ‘sleep’ appears seldom alone; it’s always ‘sleep and circadian’.
Those of us with circadian abnormalities are perhaps most happy with goal 4. Health care professionals, educators, policy makers and the general public are at present largely unaware of the results of research to date, and the resulting ignorance leads to misdiagnosis of most of us. The research community knows a great deal more than the medical community does, and dissemination of that knowledge should have high priority.
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