Faculty

Bertisch, Suzanne (Suzie), MD, MPH

Physician/Clinical Investigator
General Medicine & Primary Care, Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Biography

Dr. Bertisch’s research is broadly focused on behavioral therapies aimed at improving quality of life and minimizing cardiovascular risk in patients with sleep disorders. Her research is currently supported by a K23 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Using epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory research methods, Dr. Bertisch’s work investigates the use, mechanisms, and efficacy of both conventional and alternative treatments (e.g., yoga) in patients with both sleep disorders and/or cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., hypertension). During her research fellowship, Dr. Bertisch conducted a clinical trial examining the anti-hypertensive effects of a bi-level positive-airway pressure therapy in patients with hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea. Additionally, she has conducted several epidemiologic studies examining the use of mind-body therapies in patients with medical and sleep disorders, and is currently conducting research on the placebo effect in obstructive sleep apnea. Another focus of her work is to assess acute cardiovascular and autonomic correlates of mind-body breathing and its long-term effects, and potential mechanisms of meditative slow breathing upon autonomic activity and blood pressure. This work uses direct and indirect measures of autonomic activity (i.e., sympathetic nerve activity and heart rate variability). Dr. Bertisch recently helped to initiate an industry-funded project to explore the potential mechanisms of increased cardiovascular risk in patients with restless legs syndrome.  Her clinical work focuses on the medical and behavioral treatment of sleep disorders and is based at both the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Sleep Disorders Clinic (BIDMC) and Cheng and Tsui Center for Integrative Care at Healthcare Associates, BIDMC.

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