Traumatic Brain Injury associated with sleep problems long after the injury

“I included this article as an example of the public media journalists having no common sense and discretion when there is a minor first study suggesting something. The media prints it as fact though they say “suggestion.” Above are comments from Newsweek, L.A. Times, CBS and NPR.
Below is the abstract of the research. These headlines and their implications are a farce. Only 31 participants had a detailed sleep assessment. That has no statistical significance. My opinion is these minor works publish before anything is proven hoping to get enough financial support to do a real work of medical research.

Beware of public media headlines about medicine. They know better than make such a strong assertion. My opinion is not based on research; I am open to other interpretations” Bill Chesnut, MD.

(Return to New Health News, http://billchesnutmd.com/new-health-news/)

Traumatic Brain Injury associated with sleep problems long after the injury
Newsweek (4/27, Firger) reports that research suggests individuals “who suffer” a traumatic brain injury (TBI) “may experience sleep problems a year and a half after the injury.” The study, published in Neurology, also found that “these patients often aren’t aware that it’s a problem.”

The Los Angeles Times (4/27, Healy) reports that “on average, 1½ years after their brain injury, subjects slept 8.1 hours per night vs. 7.1 hours for healthy controls.” The study indicated that “even with that extra hour, they were more tired during their wakeful hours, as measured by how quickly they fell asleep.”

On its website, CBS News (4/27, Welch) reports, however, that participants with TBI “didn’t report feeling any sleepier than those without head injuries when asked how tired they were during the day.”

According to the NPR (4/27, Hamilton) “Shots” blog, these findings “suggest there could be a quiet epidemic of sleep disorders among people with” TBIs.

Sleep–wake disorders persist 18 months after traumatic brain injury but remain underrecognized              Neurology 10.1212

Objective: This study is a prospective, controlled clinical and electrophysiologic trial examining the chronic course of posttraumatic sleep–wake disturbances (SWD).

Methods: We screened 140 patients with acute, first-ever traumatic brain injury of any severity and included 60 patients for prospective follow-up examinations. Patients with prior brain trauma, other neurologic or systemic disease, drug abuse, or psychiatric comorbidities were excluded. Eighteen months after trauma, we performed detailed sleep assessment in 31 participants. As a control group, we enrolled healthy individuals without prior brain trauma matched for age, sex, and sleep satiation.

Results: In the chronic state after traumatic brain injury, sleep need per 24 hours was persistently increased in trauma patients (8.1 ± 0.5 hours) as compared to healthy controls (7.1 ± 0.7 hours). The prevalence of chronic objective excessive daytime sleepiness was 67% in patients with brain trauma compared to 19% in controls. Patients significantly underestimated excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep need, emphasizing the unreliability of self-assessments on SWD in trauma patients.

Conclusions: This study provides prospective, controlled, and objective evidence for chronic persistence of posttraumatic SWD, which remain underestimated by patients. These results have clinical and medicolegal implications given that SWD can exacerbate other outcomes of traumatic brain injury, impair quality of life, and are associated with public safety hazards.