Monday, February 25, 2008

I Stand Corrected

I take back my comment in the last post about napping being a source of relaxation and stress relief. If this news article speaks the truth, seniors who fall asleep unexpectedly during the day have a higher risk of stroke, even when patient populations are controlled for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other risk factors.

You know, I fall asleep on my couch after a rough day with fair frequency. I wonder if my risk for stroke is higher as a result? Probably not.

I think (and don't quote me on this) that a much more likely explanation is that seniors who have difficulty maintaining alertness have that particular problem because of declining health in general. Medication side-effects might be part of the reason the patients are nodding off, though if the study controlled for disease states, they likely also controlled for medications likely to cause drowsiness. Either way, it's safe to say that patients who lack energy and fall asleep during the day are probably sicker than those who don't.

And even if falling asleep during the day were a direct cause of stroke risk, what would we do about it? Make daytime television more stimulating? Provide the elderly with free Starbucks?

Seriously. Correlation versus causation. Who funds these studies?

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