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8:14 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Study: Violent video games increase chance of nightmares

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My 17-year-old son is complaining of violent nightmares on a frequent basis. I notice that he often plays intensely violent video war games at night. I have been telling him this may be a cause but he does not agree. What do you think?

A: I agree with you. In fact, a recent study done in Turkey involved slightly over 1,000 college-age students. They followed these students looking for the effects of media on dreams. They found that those who were exposed to violent media within 90 minutes of bedtime were 13 times more likely to experience violent dreams. They also found that those viewing sexually related content within 90 minutes were six times more likely to experience dreams that were sexual. In my practice, when taking care of nightmare sufferers, one of the first questions I ask is about the content of what they watch before bedtime. It is amazing how often parents of children are unaware of what they are viewing.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

I had a coronary stent done two years ago. My wife pointed out that I am snoring loudly and appear to stop breathing while asleep. I have gained 40 pounds since the procedure. She thinks I should let my cardiologist know about my snoring. I’m wondering what’s the big deal? I’ve already been stented.

A: If you have sleep apnea, it could be a big deal. A study published in the journal Sleep in 2015 followed several hundred stented patients with sleep apnea over several years. Those who refused treatment of their sleep apnea were twice as likely to have stent closure during the follow-up period when compared to those who were treated for their sleep apnea. Therefore, I would listen to your wife. She is definitely giving you good advice.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My daughter was recently diagnosed with PCO (PolyCystic Ovary disease). She is overweight and showing signs of type 2 diabetes. She snores and her doctor wants her to have a sleep study. Is there a relationship between PCO and sleep apnea?

A: Yes there is. In fact, it is estimated that 40 percent of women with PCO have sleep apnea. In addition, recent studies have demonstrated that the diabetes that is so common in PCO may be related to insulin resistance due to sleep apnea. I have had many patients with PCO and sleep apnea and when treated, their blood sugars tend to improve remarkably.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My husband was diagnosed with MS eight years ago. Recently he has been having difficulty with his short-term memory as well as staying alert. In fact, his driving has become problematic. He snores and I have observed him not breathing. I want him to address this with his physician but he is resistant. What do you think?

A: I think that is a great and timely question. Two very recent studies have demonstrated a very high incidence of sleep apnea in MS. In both of these studies, cognitive decline was found to correlate with the sleep apnea. The authors point out that areas of the brain that are damaged by sleep apnea are the very same areas that appear to be most vulnerable to MS. Based upon these and other studies I believe that MS patients demonstrating cognitive decline should be screened carefully for sleep apnea.

Dr. Robert Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine specialist, will answer readers’ questions by incorporating them in future columns. Contact him through the form at www.answersforsleep.com or via mail at the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, 3259 N. Windsong Drive, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.