Dr. Martin Scharf, Ph.D., FABSM, sub-investigator, research, and development consultant at Cleveland Sleep Research Center, delivers an overview of sleep research, and drugs for treatment of various illnesses including fibromyalgia.
Dr. Scharf has a passion for sleep, and don’t we all! A good night’s sleep is one of the best experiences you could hope for, and unfortunately… something that many of us don’t get consistently. Dr. Scharf’s passion for sleep goes beyond simply wanting a great night’s sleep however, as he has devoted his life to the study of sleep and works tirelessly to treat people at his clinic to help them achieve better health through quality sleep. Dr. Scharf began his sleep research at UCLA, where he worked under the direction of Dr. Anthony Kales, a true pioneer in sleep medicine. Dr. Scharf continued his education and received a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in Hershey. Throughout his long career, Dr. Scharf has had a hand in the development and testing of almost every significant pharmaceutical used in treating disorders of sleep and wakefulness. He has published over 250 scientific papers. Additionally, Dr. Scharf was the creator and director of a freestanding sleep disorders clinic in the US (Tristate Sleep Disorders Center), the first of its kind.
Dr. Scharf discusses the many issues regarding fibromyalgia, its common symptoms and why the condition is misunderstood. Fibromyalgia syndrome may cause chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain that can often be associated with fatigue or other symptoms. The pain fibromyalgia sufferers feel often includes increased sensitivity in areas called tender points. Dr. Scharf provides details on the connection between fibromyalgia and the binding of Gamma. Gamma hydroxybutyrate, as it is called in its more formal name, abbreviated simply as GHB is a known chemical found in the brain as well as some other areas of the body. Gamma can also be made in a laboratory setting. It is used for depression, weight loss, and relief of several troublesome fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and sleep problems. Dr. Scharf recounts his long extensive drug testing studies working with patients that led to a drug treatment for narcolepsy. But Dr. Scharf knew that GHB had further uses and he continued his studies. He recounts how he discovered that it increased deep stages of sleep and the release of growth hormone. Armed with this knowledge he began to look for medical conditions or disorders that would be a match and he made the connection to fibromyalgia. He talks about some of the amazing improvements that patients began to see in regard to better sleep and reduced or nearly eliminated pain.
Further, the sleep research expert talks about his other studies and clinical trials that led to new developments and treatments. He recounts the moving stories of some of the patients that testified during FDA hearings regarding GHB. Many of those who testified stated that they never wanted to return to their life the way it was before treatment with the compound. He relates a wealth of information about the controversy surrounding the drug and why date rape concerns kept the drug from being welcomed into the legitimate medical industry for much longer than it should have been, given the fact that it showed profound and dramatic improvements in those who suffer from fibromyalgia.