ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2009) — A new study is the first to assess the effectiveness of treating sleep disorders in adults with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Results indicate that treatment may result in the objective resolution of the sleep disorder without improvements in daytime sleepiness or neuropsychological function.
Results show that in brain-injured subjects with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), three months of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy dramatically reduced the severity of OSA from 31.4 to 3.8 apneas and hypopneas per hour of sleep; however, there was no demonstrable improvement in measures of daytime sleepiness. Participants experienced no significant changes in measures of mood, quality of life and cognitive performance after treatment for a sleep disorder.
According to principal investigator Richard J. Castriotta, M.D., director of the division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, researchers were not surprised by the fact that patients with sleep disorders had more severe injuries; however the lack of improvement in excessive sleepiness and neuropsychological testing after treatment was unexpected.
“The TBI patients with sleep apnea and no improvement in sleepiness may have had a combination of pre-existing sleep apnea and posttraumatic hypersomnia, causing sleepiness after the injury,” said Castriotta. “These patients may need stimulant therapy in addition to CPAP in order to improve symptoms.”