Category Archives: Public Awareness

Arizona Cardinals Join ASBA, Phoenix Police, and Pro Player Health Alliance For The Worlds Largest Sleep Apnea Awareness Event

20160126_chadiwck_19.33.50                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pro Player Health Alliance is an organization dedicated to helping treat former NFL players who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). As a result these superstar athletes then become more than just patients, but every day people who publicly support and spread the awareness of OSA at events across the nation. With a combined effort of former NFL greats, local establishments and public figures, the community as a whole can unite to direct potential patients toward dental/medical professionals who can help.


The next Pro Player Health Alliance event, aimed at improving awareness and undersDavid Gergen Larry Fitzgerald Roy Green Alan Hickey Randy Claretanding of sleep related disorders in the general public, is also a fundraiser to benefit the Phoenix Police Foundation. In addition, it will be the first official celebration to kick off the new season for the Arizona Cardinals. Shining a light on life threatening health complications that can be caused by allowing OSA to go untreated has become a primary objective for the Arizona Cardinals since partnering with Pro Player Health Alliance. Location and time of the public awareness event and fundraiser will be Tuesday September 6, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. to close at Padre Murphy’s 4338 West Bell Road, Phoenix AZ 85308. It is expected that this event will draw over 5,000 thousand attendees.

Roy Green, NFL legend and former Cardinals WR/DB has said, “If I had met David Gergen years ago, I may not have had to experience having a heart attack, let alone three heart attacks and two strokes. I am extremely grateful for what he’s done for me and my former teammates and I’m glad to be a part of spreading awareness on sleep apnea so others don’t have to go through what I did.”

Pro Player Health Alliance President David Gergen, owner of Gergen’s Sleep Appliance Lab and Executive Director of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy is an icon throughout the dental sleep community and will be the MC for the event. David will be on hand to help the public meet their favorite player and to share his extensive knowledge of sleep disorders including the dental treatment of sleep apnea.

David Gergen on stage








“Over the years more and more retired NFL greats have contacted me regarding their sleep apnea. I am happy to refer them to a dentist or medical doctor who can help them. It became very obvious that the general population was having the same issue. Roy Green and I decided to help the retired players and improve awareness of sleep disorders by promoting large public events.” – David Gergen

Sleep Apnea Therapy: Its all about the TEAM!

Sleep Disorders have dominated the health and wellness blogs and news sites for the last several years. It is time for patients and caregivers to wake up to the issues that come from sleep apnea.

More than 40% of adults in the U.S. have a disorder such as snoring, insomnia, restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea, according to recent studies. Dr. Patricio Reyes head of Neurology Veteran’s affairs hospital Phoenix AZ says in his recent experience it’s now clear that a lack of sleep “not only increases the risk of errors and accidents, it also has adverse effects on the body and brain,”. Neurological impact of sleep according to shows a clear implication in Dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Yet most sleep disorders go untreated.

Derek Kennard often relates the story that until he began treatment with a sleep Herbst oral appliance he had not slept for more than 2 hours at a stretch

 Derek Kennard a former NFL center and Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl champion who was tough enough to play a championship game Derek Kennardagainst the Pittsburgh Steelers with a separated shoulder was almost brought down by sleep apnea. He just didn’t sleep well at night. Only grabbing sleep in 2 hour increments.  Kennard says his wife reported his breathing would stop, she would need to nudge him to get him breathing again. His passion for publicizing sleep diagnostics and therapy comes not only from his obvious success but from the fact that his brother a diagnosed sleep apnea patient passed away in his sleep from a heart attack. Heart problems are a recognized complication of sleep apnea. Reggie White also passed in his sleep of a heart attack.

Kennard is very aware of the large segment of the population that have sleep apnea. In his role as a school councilor, he has seen the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in his coworkers. So this condition is not only a condition related to the bigger guys on the team.

Sleep Apnea is often associated with obesity which can create a false impression of a patient’s potential risk. Kennard’s brother was 6’4” and skinny as a rail.

Derek Kennard as Darth Vader
Derek Kennard as Darth Vader

Once his condition was identified Kennard went to a sleep Dr for a few tests. The most important test was an overnight sleep study. As part of the study he was put on CPAP. CPAP is a device that blows air up your nose and holds your airway open. This device is considered the gold standard or best in class therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. Kennard found that this was not a treatment he could tolerate.

The greatest impact Kennard’s condition had on his life was the sleepiness that came from waking every 2 hours. This sleepiness caused mood swings, concentration issues and of course drowsy driving. He reported falling asleep while driving often stopping on the way home from work for a short nap to improve his concentration.

Many Studies have been done in the sleep lab at Arrowhead Hospital “A patient who is young who is young, healthy and fit can be put them in a pre-diabetic state just by putting them on an irregular sleep schedule,” Reyes, says.

It is also shown in recent research that there is also a strong connection between sleep and the immune system, Reyes says. “People who do not sleep well have a 200 to 300 percent increased risk of actually catching a cold,”.

Dr. Rudi Ferrate a sleep Dr. from Arrowhead Hospital says i“My whole clinic is full of patients who are brought in by their spouses,”  When a patient is being initially diagnosed assessed Dr. Ferrate uses a simple questionnaire call the Epworth sleepiness scale. This is a list of 8 simple questions which have been validated to give a very accurate prediction of sleepiness.

Dr. Ferrate is a board certified sleep physician who is focused on all of the more than 94 sleep disorders from bed wetting and nightmares to sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea affects 1 in 3 adult males in the United States. Dr. Ferrate requires an objective measure of sleep quality using an at home or in hospital sleep study in order to form a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea is a term that refers to the absence of airflow either due to airway obstruction or due to neurological component in which the brain does not ask for a breath. The treatment for Sleep Apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device or, more recently an oral appliance like a sleep Herbst.

Derek Kennard’s wife couldn’t stand his snoring, but she didn’t love listening to his CPAP machine either. Kennard was concerned that “Darth Vader machine took the sexy out of the bedroom. Kennard said to me I can’t wear thing that thing, I feel like I am drowning.

Sleep Herbst By Gergen’s Orthodontic Lab

“Some players have such severe sleep apnea that they must use both a CPAP machine and a Herbst device to get restful sleep, but Kennard is glad that the device is adequate for his treatment.

Sleep diagnosis at home or in the sleep lab is a very important part of getting treated. This will provide an objective diagnosis for the sleep physician to evaluate your condition and suggest a treatment. There are a wide range of options for treatment. CPAP for severe cases mild to moderate cases with the sleep Herbst and in some cases positional therapies with a slumberbump body position device.

David Gergen CDT

David Gergen CDT

David Gergen, CDT and President of Pro Player Health Alliance, has been a nationally respected dental lab technician for over 25 years. He received the award for “The Finest Orthodontic Technician in the Country” given by Columbus Dental in 1986. He also has been appointed Executive Director of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy Dental Division, a national interdisciplinary academy dedicated to sleep training and education with over 60,000 members. David rolled out of bed on December 4, 1982 and had his career “ah ha” moment. He knew he was going to be an orthodontic technician and he knew he was going to help people all over the country to help treat their sleep disorders in partnership with their dentists. He has worked for some of the pioneers in the orthodontic and sleep dentistry fields. He was the personal technician for the likes of Dr. Robert Ricketts, Dr. Ronald Roth, Dr. A. Paul Serrano, Dr. Clark Jones, Dr. Harold Gelb, Dr. Joseph R. Cohen, Dr. Rodney Willey, Dr. Allan Bernstein, and Dr. Thien Pham. One of his proudest achievements is receiving The National Leadership award for Arizona Small Businessman of the Year in 2004.

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Men’s Disconnect with Sleep and Health

Most people underestimate how long they can survive without food. Prisoners that have gone on hunger strikes live around 60 days before their demise. Although there is not a lot of data on how long humans can survive without sleep, researches agree that it is considerably less. In studies the longest lifespan of sleep deprived rats was only 11 days.

We know that men outnumber women when it comes to those that suffer sleep disorders. These disorders are killers. The challenge for those concerned for us is to get us to act on the lifesaving  treatments for these nighttime disorders. But should you deprive us men our dinners, you will most likely see us go into an immediate survival mode and take action to nourish our poor starving bodies. It would seem very unnatural to state that we will take care of this another day when it’s more convenient.

It’s no surprise that women in general are willing to admit when they are in poor health and less likely to die because of it. If you look at drugs that Big Pharma push in advertising to the male demographic, it would appear that the erectile disorder drugs are the big money makers over heart and hypertension drugs. Once again, showing that we men often lose focus on the one area that is most important, living.

So in an act to remind men of some of the dangers of sleep I will list some sleep disorder trivia

  • Humans can survive longer without food than without sleep
  •  Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity have been linked to chronic sleep loss
  •  Over 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder
  • Those that have less sleep than the average person have shorter lives
  •  Sleep deprivation leads to higher inflammatory proteins in blood
  •  65% of Americans lose sleep because of stress
  •  A snoring person wakes their bed partner an average of 20 times per night with an average of 1 hour of sleep loss each night
  • Oh, did I mention that erectile dysfunction is often associated with sleep disorders?
Jeremy Andra, RPSGT, RST

Jeremy Andra, RPSGT, RST

Mr. Andra is well known throughout the western United States for bringing sleep programs from initial startup to full operational capabilities by opening approximately 100 sleep facilities. Mr. Andra has been involved in sleep medicine since 1990 when he started one of the first sleep labs using computerized digital systems and one of the earliest portable EEG services in the market. Later, he was involved in large drug research studies as well as evaluating and field testing various medical devices needing FDA approvals including auto technologies with major PAP companies. Mr. Andra then added the dental sleep medicine as a part of his focus. He developed a dental tool named the “Andra Gauge” that is now sold internationally. The Andra Gauge has won Medical Innovation Awards and Dental Products Report had it in their “Top 10 Most Wanted Products”. As a regular on the sleep industry speaking circuit, Jeremy Andra is known for bringing both medical and dental professionals together to create successful business and patient models for Sleep Medicine. Mr. Andra now serves as Product Manager and Business Development Manager for Cadwell Laboratories.

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Serial Entrepreneur (and Oprah!) Pays Attention to Sleep


When a “healthy amount of sleep” is mentioned during the course of a digital health care partnership involving a “serial entrepreneur,” Oprah Winfrey, and “Dr. Oz,” you know that sleep awareness has come of age.


The brief, yet significant mention, comes in a Forbes Q&A with Jeff Arnold, co-founder of Sharecare, a digital healthcare platform that also features founders Oprah and Dr Oz—with additional backing by Google’s Eric Schmidt and the US Army.


Miguel Forbes asks Arnold, an alumni of WebMD, “What does success look like for Sharecare?” In the Forbes article, Arnold responds: “Our ultimate goal is to empower consumers, providers, employers and payers, alike, to proactively make the choices to what we refer to as ‘living in the green’ every day. What that means is harnessing all the technology available to us, and tapping into health trackers, sensors and wearables to recognize the things people do every day – whether it’s being active, taking Vitamin D or flossing, or not getting a healthy amount of sleep or sitting too much – and assign values to those behaviors that translate into tangible “micro payments” that add – or subtract – hours, days and eventually years back on your life.”


This so-called reverse engineering science involves calculating a RealAge metric, which tells the actual age of the body versus calendar age. “Forty million people have already taken the RealAge Test, and now we need to educate them on how to get real time micropayments so they can literally get time back on their life,” says Arnold. “There’s no question that healthcare is on the precipice of a major transformation, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”


Click Here to read the entire interview

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Twitter and Facebook Enlisted by Boston Children’s for Sleep Health

Boston Children’s Hospital is teaming up with pharm giant Merck to turn Twitter and Facebook into a new source for sleep health data. The two social network engines could help collect data about how many people in a population suffer from insomnia, and what they have in common with each other.

An recent news report states that John Brownstein, associate professor at Boston Children’s Hospital and project leader, will take publicly available data from Twitter and Facebook, including message content, frequency, user analytics, and demographic information to determine what social media users are likely suffering from sleep deprivation.

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