Sound Sleep Can Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries, New Study Suggests

Brain News: Sleep is at the epicenter of recovery in traumatic brain injury, according to a new study of military veterans.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University investigated the effects of poor sleep on recovery after traumatic brain injuries. They developed a technique involving magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate the enlargement of perivascular spaces surrounding the blood vessels in the brain.

The perivascular spaces in the brain are part of the brain’s waste clearance system known as the glymphatic system. Enlargement of these spaces occurs in aging and is associated with cognitive problems like dementia.

The new study of military veterans published in the Journal of Neurotrauma showed that those who slept poorly had more evidence of these enlarged spaces and more post-concussive symptoms.

In the sleeping phase, the brain-wide network clears away metabolic proteins that would otherwise build up in the brain. They found sleeping well can help you clear brain waste after traumatic brain injury and poor sleep means you might not clean your brain as efficiently.

The study findings have important implications such as using the technique developed to measure brain’s waste-clearance system through MRIs to predict people at risk of cognitive problems.

To Know More, You May Refer To

Piantino, J., Schwartz, D. L., Luther, M., Newgard, C., Silbert, L., Raskind, M., Pagulayan, K., Kleinhans, N., Iliff, J., & Peskind, E. (2021). Link between mild traumatic brain injury, poor sleep, and magnetic resonance imaging: Visible Perivascular spaces in veterans. Journal of Neurotrauma.

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