A recent study from the University of Montreal examined the sleep patterns of 30 patients who had been hospitalized for moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. The results, published recently in the journal Neurology, appear to establish that sleep cycles can accurately indicate the degree of brain injury. Further, it appears that the quality and quantity of sleep appears to grow as the brain heals; in other words, sleep patterns improve as brain function is recovered.
Why sleep matters
Sleep is vital to our bodies and brains. Rest improves function in almost every way, and sleep disruption has previously been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The news that sleep patterns and brain function are linked so closely may have important implications in how doctors treat traumatic brain injury and how TBI victims recover.
The study began after neuropsychologist and lead author Nadia Gosselin observed TBI patients who had trouble falling asleep or waking up, common symptoms after a brain injury. While further research is needed, these results offer hope to TBI victims and their families that speeding recovery could be as simple as promoting good sleep with drugs or light and dark therapy.
Tech Times reported, “The results of the study show that evaluating sleep patterns in TBI patients may be as important as evaluating their reactions to stimuli. Also, it can provide valuable information about how to personalize care for these people, as also stated by the author of the study, Nadia Gosselin, Ph.D. ‘It’s possible that there are common underlying brain mechanisms involved in both recovery from TBI and improvement in sleep. Still, more study needs to be done and future research may want to examine how hospital lighting and noise also affect quality of sleep for those with TBI,’ noted Gosselin.”
Research helps, but victims often need high levels of care
Continuing research is vital to victims everywhere, and Dr. Gosselin and her team are at the forefront of traumatic brain injury research. While their findings may eventually change the way TBI is treated everywhere, the current outlook for TBI victims isn’t nearly as promising; the human brain is complex and incredible and very poorly understood. For now, the best we can do is care for TBI victims and hope that a breakthrough is just around the corner.
If your loved one suffered a brain injury in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and continuing care. The experienced Nashville traumatic brain injury attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you need. Call 615.246.5549, visit our offices in Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville, or contact us today for a free consultation.