Nalaka S. Gooneratne

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Associate Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Presbyterian Medical Center of Philadelphia and the Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Attending Physician, Presbyterian Medical Center
Fellow, Institute on Aging (University of Pennsylvania)
Member, Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology (University of Pennsylvania)
Director, Geriatric Fellowship Research
Member, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics
Director, Masters of Translational Research - Entrepreneurial Science Track
Director, mHealth mobile app/device service (University of Pennsylvania Clinical and Translational Science Award)
Department: Medicine

Contact information
Ralston Penn Center, Room 220
3615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215 573 2048
Fax: 215 573-8684
Lab: 215 746 3098
Cert. (French)
Ecole de Français Moderne, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, 1989.
B.S. (Medical Education)
Northwestern University (Honors Program) (Graduated with Distinction), 1991.
M.D. (Medicine)
Northwestern University School of Medicine (Graduated with Distinction), 1993.
M.Sc. (Clinical Epidemiology)
Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests:

Aging, sleep, complementary/alternative medicine, melatonin, patient-oriented research, translational research, categorical data, clinical trials, multivariate analysis, time series.

Description of Research:

Dr. Gooneratne’s research interests are centered around studying the nature of sleep disorders in the elderly. While many older adults complain of difficulties with sleep, it is an area about which modern medicine has only a limited understanding. Funded initially by a National Institute on Aging Mentored Research Career Development Award (K23), he is pursuing research examining the role of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, in sleep in the elderly and the effects of sleep apnea treatment on cognitive function in older adults. Dr.Gooneratne also runs a Sleep Disorders Clinic for Seniors in an effort to address the medical needs of older patients with sleep disorders. In addition, Dr. Gooneratne is the Associate Director of the Masters in Translational Research Program, with a focus on Entrepreneurial Science education at the University of Pennsylvania's ITMATEd program. He is the director of the mHealth mobile app development service at ITMAT (CTSA/Penn). He also helps to coordinate the research activities of the Geriatric fellows in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and mentors research fellows in the Division of Sleep Medicine.

Description of Itmat Expertise

Dr. Gooneratne is interested in geriatric sleep medicine, the pathophysiology of insomnia in the elderly, the role of melatonin abnormalities, cognitive beliefs and attitudes of older patients towards sleep disorders, and the evaluation and management of sleep apnea.

Selected Publications

Gehrman P, Gooneratne NS, Brewster GS, Richards KC, Karlawish J: Impact of Alzheimer disease patients' sleep disturbances on their caregivers. Geriatr Nurs Jul 3 2017 Notes: pii: S0197-4572(17)30156-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2017.06.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Li J, Chang YP, Riegel B, Keenan BT, Varrasse M, Pack AI, Gooneratne NS: Intermediate, But Not Extended, Afternoon Naps May Preserve Cognition in Chinese Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci May 5 2017 Notes: doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx069. [Epub ahead of print]

Li J, Vitiello MV, Gooneratne NS: Sleep in Normal Aging. Sleep Med Clin 69(7): 841-858, Feb 21 2017.

Li J, Cacchione PZ, Hodgson N, Riegel B, Keenan BT, Scharf MT, Richards KC, Gooneratne NS: Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Baseline Assessment. J Am Geriatr Soc 65(2): 373-380, Feb 2017.

Sharma A, Barrett MS, Cucchiara AJ, Gooneratne NS, Thase ME: A breathing-based meditation intervention for patients with major depressive disorder following inadequate response to antidepressants: a randomized pilot study. J Clin Psychiatry 78(1): e59-e63, Jan 2017.

Pak, V.M., Onen, S-H., Gooneratne, N.S., Falissard, B., Onen, F.: Observation and Interview-based Diurnal Sleepiness Inventory for Measurement of Sleepiness in Older Adults. Nature and Science of Sleep. Dove Press, accepted, 2017.

Sharma A., Barrett M.S., Cucchiara A.J., Gooneratne N.S., Thase M.E.: A Breathing-Based Meditation Intervention for Patients With Major Depressive Disorder Following Inadequate Response to Antidepressants: A Randomized Pilot Study. J Clin Psychiatry Nov 2016 Notes: epub ahead of print.

Gooneratne, N.S.: What is Academic Entrepreneurship? Academic Entrepreneurship in the Life Sciences: ITMATEd (University of Pennsylvania), June 2016.

Onen F., Lalanne C., Pak V.M., Gooneratne N.S., Falissard B., Onen S.H.: A Three-Item Instrument for Measuring Daytime Sleepiness: The Observation and Interview Based Diurnal Sleepiness Inventory (ODSI). J Clin Sleep Med 12(4): 505-12, April 2016.

Gooneratne, N.S.: Sleep Problems Specific to Geriatric Patients. Sleep Medicine in Primary Care (electronic textbook). Bianchi, M. (eds.). Oakstone Publishing, 2016.

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Last updated: 03/12/2018
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