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Brain Injuries linked to Sleep Disorders

People with brain injuries may produce low amounts of melatonin which affect their sleep according to a recent study. The study was published in the May 25, 2010 print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. While it has been recognized for years that brain injuries and sleep issues are linked, the exact causes of these problems had not been determined.

The study examined the sleep patterns of 46 people. Half of the participants suffered a severe traumatic brain injury an average of 14 months ago. The other 23 participants were healthy people of the same age. The participants were monitored for two nights at a sleep laboratory. The study showed that healthy people produced more melatonin than the people with brain injuries in the evening hours when melatonin levels are suppose to rise to signal sleep. The study’s author suggests that this is problematic since melatonin is a hormone that regulates biological rhythms, including sleep.

The study also showed that people with brain injuries had other differences in their sleep patterns. The participants with brain injuries spent more time in non-REM sleep than the healthy group. Additionally, the group with brain injuries spent less of their time in bed actually asleep than the healthy participants.

Each year in the United States an estimated 1.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury which can disrupt the function of the brain. The leading causes of brain injuries are vehicle accidents and crashes, birth injuries, slips and/or falls and medical malpractice.

The attorneys at Levin & Perconti are well educated and experienced in the complex area of brain injury litigation in Illinois. Additionally, the attorneys recognize and understand the large medical expenses and financial obligations that result from a brain injury.