Slow-wave sleep cycle could treat brain injuries

A victim of a traumatic brain injury in Georgia might discover that physicians lack clear ideas about how to effectively treat the condition. The biological effects of head injuries remain the subject of ongoing research, but deep sleep could produce benefits according to a study from researchers at a hospital in Switzerland.

Building upon the knowledge that head trauma damages the axons of neurons and creates an excess of neurotoxic molecular wastes, researchers studied rats with injured prefrontal cortices. They wanted to know if inducing a deep sleep state in which the brain produces low-frequency and high-amplitude waves lessened either of the side effects of brain injury. The portion of rats that received sleep treatments exhibited a reduced amount of memory impairment. When examining the rats' brains for axonal damage, the rats given sleep treatments once again showed positive results. Compared to the placebo group, they had almost 80 percent less axonal damage.

A neurosurgeon outside of the research team cautioned that the study had limitations. Although inducing slow-wave sleep could benefit head trauma patients, rat studies did not necessarily translate into results for humans. The sleep patterns and metabolic systems of rats differ from humans.

While medical researchers continue to search for effective treatments for a brain injury, a person suffering from such an injury must deal with the aftermath. These injuries can cause brain damage that limits a person's ability to function. In the event that the injury was due to the negligence of anther party, such as in a collision caused by an impaired or distracted driver, then an attorney might be of assistance to the victim in seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

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