Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
Sleep medicine nurse practitioner Doreen Gagne, CRNP, helps patients with sleep disorders at Chesapeake Pulmonary and Sleep Physicians in Maryland. Alongside her professional duties in healthcare, Doreen Gagne, CRNP, routinely contributes to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation in memory of her father.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization working toward a world without mesothelioma. It has generated more than $9.8 million in research funding, allowing scientists to learn more about the disease and work toward cures and therapies.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is primarily caused by asbestos. It impacts the smooth linings inside the body that are composed of mesothelial cells, which are found in the lungs, chest, and heart. When asbestos particles make their way into these linings, they can form solid, cancerous tumors.
In addition to efforts in medical research, the Meso Foundation is active in asbestos education and prevention initiatives. In conjunction with the EPA, the foundation reports that asbestos is particularly common in the insulation of homes built between 1930 and 1950. If you are not sure if your home’s insulation contains asbestos, contact the manufacturer for assistance. If it does contain asbestos, it is recommended to hire a certified asbestos mitigation professional for safe removal.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
As a sleep medicine nurse practitioner at Chesapeake Pulmonary and Sleep Physicians in Maryland, Doreen Gagne, CRNP, cares for patients with insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Doreen Gagne, CRNP, draws on an in-depth knowledge of cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for chronic insomnia.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, addresses chronic insomnia by helping patients to identify and change those thought patterns and behaviors that negatively impact their sleep. The patient works with a sleep therapist, who suggests a number of lifestyle modifications designed to eliminate those habits that cause the brain to resist sleep.
Many patients undergoing CBT-I learn to avoid lying in bed awake, which can lead to worries about sleep that then keep the patient awake. The therapist may also require the patient to avoid using the bed for anything other than sleep and sexual intercourse, so that the brain associates the bed with rest.
CBT-I also involves the introduction of positive behaviors, such as setting a consistent bedtime and manipulating the sleep environment. Such modifications can include darkening the bedroom, practicing meditation before bed, and starting a wind-down habit an hour before bedtime.
The specific modifications of CBT-I will depend on the patient’s individual needs and habits, as assessed by the clinician. Patients may keep a sleep diary for a number of weeks to assess the intervention’s effectiveness, which the clinician and the patient can then adjust as needed.
According to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, these interventions lead to improvements in 50 to 60 percent of participants. Noticeable improvements are pervasive across all areas of sleep, including total nightly sleep time as well as the average number of awakenings.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Doreen Gagne, CRNP, has over 20 years of practical experience in the health care industry, including 15 years as a nurse practitioner. In 2014, she began working as a family nurse practitioner at Chesapeake Sleep Physicians in Fallston, Maryland. In that role, Doreen Gagne, CRNP, works to address a variety of sleep-related conditions, including obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common condition characterized by breathing pauses during sleep. The pauses interrupt a person’s normal sleep pattern when the brain forces the person awake to reinitiate breathing, resulting in poor sleep quality. There are two types of sleep apnea, distinguished by their cause.
The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused when the airways are blocked during sleep. This occurs when the throat muscles relax and permit the tongue or throat tissue to drop into the airways, obstructing airflow. A person suffering from obstructive sleep apnea may wake to gasping and choking as he or she struggles to breathe.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to tell the muscles to breathe. It is caused by an underlying medical condition that affects the brain stem’s ability to function, like Parkinson’s disease or a stroke. A person may also suffer from a mixture of both types of sleep apnea.
Treatment for sleep apnea may depend on its cause. Central sleep apnea is addressed by treating the underlying medical condition. For those with obstructive sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may prove helpful. Elimination of sleep apnea risk factors like obesity, frequent alcohol intake, and smoking can help reduce symptoms. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which uses a mask to ensure that consistent air is delivered to the patient’s airways, may prove effective in treating both types of sleep apnea.
Licensed CRNP Doreen Gagne has served as a sleep medicine nurse practitioner with Chesapeake Pulmonary and Sleep Physicians in Fallston, Maryland, since 2014. Outside of the professional environment, she is a health food enthusiast who has been juicing vegetables for more than two decades. Doreen Gagne, CRNP, currently adheres to the Paleo diet.
Proponents of the Paleo diet attempt to emulate the eating habits of human ancestors from the Paleolithic period, which occurred between 10,000 and 2.5 million years ago. Living before the advent of farming and livestock rearing, these ancestors survived as hunter-gatherers.
Detractors of the Paleo diet contend that the biology of modern man differs significantly from his Paleolithic predecessor. They also point to the difficulty of finding the exact foods that were prevalent in the Paleolithic era. However, many people have reported significant improvements in general health and well-being after switching over to a strict Paleo diet. The website PaleoLeap recommends that Paleo diet practitioners eliminate cereal grains, legumes, hydrogenated/partly-hydrogenated oils, and added sugar while simultaneously emphasizing saturated fats, animal protein, and vegetables.