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Study Finds Sleep Helps the Brain Form Memories after Traumatic Brain Injury

After a traumatic brain injury (TBI), many people find it difficult to sleep, to think clearly, or to remember information or events. A study published recently in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, however, found that when patients can sleep, sleeping may do a great deal to help the brain retain made memories and form new ones.

The study followed 26 participants and 30 control subjects. The participants were 18 to 22 years old. During the study, each participant studied a set of word pairs in the morning or evening. Twelve hours later, after either sleeping through the night or staying awake through the day, each participant was tested on their ability to remember the word pairs they had learned.

The sleep of each participant was measured using polysomnography. Those who had diagnosed traumatic brain injuries spent more time in deep, slow-wave sleep than those without TBIs. However, both people who had a TBI and people who did not find it easier to recall the memorized word pairs after they had slept.

The study's goal was to see if the sleep disturbances that follow many TBIs affected the brain's ability to consolidate memories while sleeping. Researchers say that helping people with TBI sleep well may be important to help them recover fully. More research on sleep and TBI is needed to determine the best ways to use sleep in order to aid healing, however.

If you've suffered a traumatic brain injury due to another's negligence, the experienced Omaha TBI attorneys at Cullan & Cullan LLC can help. Contact us today to learn more.


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