In this month’s Sleep Matters newsletter, summaries from two workgroups created during the October 2016 Sleep Research Network meeting to discuss institutional collaboration were highlighted.
The Wearables workgroup initially agreed at the fall meeting that consumer wearable devices designed to measure sleep data need to be tested using clinical tools to make sure they are reliable. They also agreed that such devices should prove out to be of good value for both clinicians and patients for the purposes of monitoring sleep.
This workgroup set goals to identify four key standards against which they can confidently measure wearable devices: technical validity, user accessibility, concept standardization, and practical utility.
During their research, they discovered potential barriers to wearable development that include proprietary restrictions, distinct differences in project pacing among business and research settings, and FDA regulations, among other things.
They also identified a large group of potential partners for moving forward to develop current wearable technology to the next level that includes institutions, health insurance organizations, and, of course, patients and many others.
Finally, they identified action items for moving forward which include convening a working group of partners and creating a road map to bridge the previously established barriers.
Meanwhile, the Genetics workgroup reports that they identified and prioritized three focal points for sleep-related genetics they found to be most pertinent to the field: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS), a national registry for phenotypes based on genetic and environmental risk factors, and the development of biobanks to manage genotyping.
Obstacles to developing these arenas in sleep genetics include a number of concerns centered on data sharing, funding, and standardized assessment of phenotypes across the field, among other things.
Next on their agenda, the workgroup plans to build an infrastructure to store shared resources, establish a working communications and outreach group, and pursue funding opportunities with the NHLBI, which they envision as a main partner moving forward.
The Sleep Research Network is a membership organization of sleep and circadian researchers that was created in 2008 by sleep and circadian researchers from institutions that had received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA). Sleep Research Network: http://www.sleepresearchnetwork.org/.