Research explores link between traumatic brain injury and sleep

January 27, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—It has long been believed that a person with a concussion should stay awake or not sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

But there appears to be no medical evidence to support that idea, according to a study regarding the relationship between traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, and sleepiness conducted by scientists at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital and the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

"This translational research study lays the foundation for understanding the immediate impact of brain injury on a person's physiology. In this case, substantial post-traumatic sleep occurred regardless of injury timing or severity," said Jonathan Lifshitz, director of the Translational Neurotrauma Program at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital and an associate professor at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. "These studies explore sleep as an immediate response to TBI."

Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability throughout the world with little pharmacological treatment for the individuals who suffer from lifelong problems associated with TBI. Clinical studies have provided evidence to support the claim that brain injury contributes to chronic sleep disturbances as well as . Clinical observations have reported excessive sleepiness immediately following traumatic brain injury. However; there is a lack of experimental evidence to support or refute the benefit of sleep following a brain injury.

"We know that some individuals after a become excessively sleepy and some cannot sleep at all. It is not well understood why this occurs as mechanisms of injury, and locations of injury are not always consistent between clinical phenotypes of normal sleep, hypersomnia and insomnia," said Matthew Troester, a neurologist and sleep specialist at Phoenix Children's Hospital and a clinical assistant professor at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix.

Lifshiz and his associates are breaking new ground with descriptions of sleep in the acute – or immediately after injury – state, where little is known clinically, Troester added.

"They demonstrate that the subjects slept immediately and similarly post-injury no matter the severity of the injury or time of day the injury occurred. This tells us that the brain is reacting to the injury in a very specific manner – not something we always see clinically – and, ultimately, this may help us better understand what the role of is in " such as being restorative, protective or merely a consequence of the injury, he said. "It is an exciting beginning."

Related Stories

Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke

June 26, 2013

People who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to research that appears in the June 26, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Recommended for you

Research grasps how the brain plans gripping motion

July 28, 2015

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates commands for the hand to grip an object. The advance could lead to improvements in future brain-computer interfaces that ...

New research rethinks how we grab and hold onto objects

July 28, 2015

It's been a long day. You open your fridge and grab a nice, cold beer. A pretty simple task, right? Wrong. While you're debating between an IPA and a lager, your nervous system is calculating a complex problem: how hard to ...

It don't mean a thing if the brain ain't got that swing

July 27, 2015

Like Duke Ellington's 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another ...

Sleep makes our memories more accessible, study shows

July 27, 2015

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.