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Traumatic Brain Injury May Increase Risk for Sleep Disorder

THURSDAY, March 4, 2021 -- Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at increased risk for developing sleep disorders, according to a study published online March 3 in Neurology.

Yue Leng, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues matched patients diagnosed with a TBI in the Veterans Health Administration system from Oct. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2015, to veterans without TBI to examine the association between TBI and the subsequent risk for sleep disorders. Data were included for 98,709 veterans with TBI and 98,709 veterans without TBI (age 49 ± 20 years).

The researchers found that 23,127 veterans (19.6 percent) developed sleep disorders after an average follow-up of five years. Those with TBI were significantly more likely to develop any sleep disorders after adjustment for demographics, education, income, and medical and psychiatric conditions (hazard ratio, 1.41), including sleep apnea, insomnia, hypersomnia, and sleep-related movement disorders (hazard ratios, 1.28, 1.50, 1.50, and 1.33, respectively). The association was stronger for mild TBIs, persisted after a two-year time lag, and did not differ appreciably by presence of posttraumatic stress disorder.

"Since sleep disorders affect people's quality of life and their rehabilitation process, it will be important to develop strategies to identify these disorders early as well as prevent them from occurring after traumatic brain injuries to improve people's overall health and quality of life," Leng said in a statement.

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