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TBIs and sleep disorders

A study that has been published in a medical journal suggests that people who suffer traumatic brain injuries could continue to have trouble sleeping for as long as 18 months after the injury date. What might be even more alarming for Louisiana residents is that many sufferers do not know how much disruption this causes to their sleep.

Researchers in Switzerland conducted the study by monitoring 31 people with mild-to-severe TBIs and 42 healthy control subjects for 18 months. All of the participants self-reported how much sleep they got each night and how sleepy they felt during the day. Additionally, the researchers performed comprehensive sleep evaluations to measure eye movement, brain activity, heart rhythm and muscle activity. The assessments included a sleep video, wearing a wrist device for two weeks to measure body movement and a test that measured how fast they dozed off in a peaceful environment to determine daytime sleepiness.

A data analysis found that 67 percent of the TBI sufferers experienced an excessive amount of sleepiness during the day compared to 19 percent of the healthy participants. However, the TBI participants did not report feeling sleepier. The researchers also discovered that the TBI participants slept an average of eight hours, while the healthy participants slept an average of seven hours. Those who had mild injuries were just as likely to have trouble sleeping as those who had severe injuries.

Although the researchers say that more research is required to confirm these findings, they note that daytime sleepiness correlates with safety issues such as workplace or auto accidents. The authors recommend that people diagnosed with TBI have their doctors monitor them for sleep problems and daytime sleepiness.

Commonly associated with football and other contact sports, a brain injury can also be incurred by a fall or a car crash. When it is caused by another person's negligence, the victim may want to have legal assistance in attempting to obtain compensation from the at-fault party for medical bills and other losses.

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