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Researchers from academia and the private sector are teaming up to study and improve the sleep quality of Soldiers through an online survey.
The survey is now available to active and reserve-component Soldiers, other service members, as well as veterans.
The survey can be taken online at www.vetsleep.org.
Soldiers take a 10-minute survey to describe their own sleep patterns and habits, according to Dan Frank, chief executive officer of VetAdvisor, the company that is partnering with Johns Hopkins University. He added that the information provided is considered confidential.
Those who take the survey are helping researchers determine which kinds of sleep aids and coaching might be most useful to Soldiers, he said.
Once Soldiers take the survey, we ask them if they would be willing to do a Quantified Self intervention, Frank said. The Quantified Self approach uses technology to measure performance in daily life; things like how many steps you take a day using a pedometer, and other monitoring devices.
We would then assign the Soldier to a sleep coach, a person trained in wellness and sleep hygiene, he continued. The coach would monitor the Soldiers daily performance and sleep habits and make proactive outreach calls to the Soldier if any deviations from the norm are found or, any time a Soldier wants to ask the coach for assistance.
Dr. Michael Smith, a clinical psychologist at Johns Hopkins University and director of the universitys Sleep Psychophysiology Laboratory, helped develop the sleep survey and has conducted sleep research in the past. He believes that sleep is a neglected area of intervention.
Typically, doctors will ask their patients questions or give advice about such things as diet, exercise and smoking but rarely about sleep, Smith said. We are only now starting to recognize that sleep is a critical health behavior.
Sense of smell driving Armys biodetection efforts
Fido is more than just a good companion and even though being mans best friend goes beyond the pedigree, dogs are perhaps better known for their keen sense of smell. At the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, scientists are fine-tuning the powerful sense and integrating it into a technology that can protect food supplies, identify biological agents and equip the Warfighter with newfound capabilities.
Dogs are actually used for quite a lot of things throughout the military for detection as well as law enforcement, said Calvin Chue, Ph.D., a research biologist at ECBC.
Not all smells are actually detectable by the human sense of smell, but dogs are one of those creatures who have a tremendous sense compared to humans and can pick up many more things than we can. And those smells (odorants) are given off by biological organisms.
According to Chue, nearly all living creatures or biological materials give off a specific profile of organic compounds, or a unique smell. Those compounds can be detected and identified using a Volatile Organic Compound visual indicator that was developed in 2000 by Ken Suslick, Ph.D., at a laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When biological materials react in the presence of a specific individual compound, the VOC detection application reveals unique patterns that illuminate a certain color after five hours of exposure.