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Struggling to stay awake--a surprising side-effect of TBIs

A fall off of a bike, a tumble down the stairs and a header in a game are all commonly used to describe head injuries suffered by children during their formative years. To prevent what may seem like daily bumps to the head, some parents may even joke about wanting to make a child wear a helmet around-the-clock or live in a protective bubble.

Once shrugged off as minor injuries, today numerous studies are shedding light on the damaging and devastating health implications related to blows to the head or concussions. The findings of one of these studies were recently presented at the 2015 Sleep conference where scientists and researchers gathered to present and discuss matters related to sleep disturbances and disorders.

For the study, the parents of 15 children who'd experienced a traumatic brain injury were asked a series of questions about their child's behavior and sleep. The responses of these parents were then measured against those of parents of children who did not suffer TBIs. While answers provided by both sets of parents were remarkably similar, showing no major differences in children's sleep disturbances; the children who suffered TBIs had "significantly poorer sleep quality and more daytime sleepiness."

Research has linked sleep disturbances and poor sleep to numerous mental and physical health issues. It's not surprising, then that the children who suffered TBIs were also found to be "more socially, emotionally and physically impaired." What's more, scientists have found that treating sleep disorders and disturbances in TBI sufferers does not "improve sleepiness or neuropsychological function."

The negative side-effects and symptoms experienced in the wake of a TBI are often varied and long-term. For parents of a child who suffers a TBI, it's important to ensure that a child receives both immediate and ongoing medical and rehabilitative care.

Source: Medical Daily, "Traumatic Brain Injuries Tied To Poor Sleep: Your Child's Conked Head May Be More Serious Than You Think," Ed Cara, June 9, 2015

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