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TBI victims and the benefits of deep sleep

New Orleans Saints fans may have seen reports of the National Football League’s first-time acknowledgement of the link between football head injuries and the degenerative brain disease termed chronic traumatic encephalopathy.Traumatic brain injuries also include less serious ones, such as concussions.

Treatment strategies for TBIs are far from universally agreed upon. One research study conducted in Switzerland found that increasing the slow-wave sleep cycle after a TBI helps reduce damage to axons. Prior research demonstrated that TBIs can damage the axons and result in the buildup of neurotoxic waste. The study used electroencephalography to record activity in the brains of rats that sustained frontal lobe damage. Rats who were put into a deep sleep showed less memory impairment than the control group with the same injuries.

Before human treatments using this research can be developed, it is necessary to determine why the rats in deep sleep fared better. Future studies will focus on improving slow-wave sleep without the use of sleep deprivation. One neurosurgeon at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis has cautioned that neuroscience studies that are successful with rodents are not always as successful with humans.

Head injuries can result in long-term consequences for the victim that are not always easy to treat. While they are often linked to football and other contact sports, they can also be caused by other incidents such as a motor vehicle accident that can leave a victim facing the need for expensive rehabilitation. When such an accident is caused by the negligence of another motorist, a personal injury attorney can often be of assistance in seeking compensation for the losses that have been incurred.

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