Improves sleep after a brain injury reduces brain damage and cognitive impairment in rats ;
Improves sleep after a head injury may help prevent damage to brain cells, according to a study in rats published on March 23 in The Journal of Neuroscience . Researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland found that improves the cycle of slow wave sleep after a minimized the axons-the thin extensions that nerve cells use to send signals to other cells-and helped preserve head trauma injury normal brain function. The finding may offer a treatment strategy for a condition that has very few effective treatments.
traumatic brain injury is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. While brain cells in the place of impact damage immediately, many more cells may die in the hours and days after the trauma as damaged axons succumb to injury. Studies suggest that widespread axonal injury contributes to many of the long-term problems with learning, memory and movement commonly associated with head injuries . molecular waste products also accumulate in the brain after head injury. Recent studies indicate that the brain removes this molecular accumulation during the slow wave of sleep where brain activity is synchronized high amplitude waves.
Researchers led by Daniela Noain and Christian Baumann investigated whether enhances slow-wave sleep after a head injury could mitigate the axonal injury rats . Twenty-five rats received a blow to the prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with decision-making and self-control. A third of the injured rats were deprived of sleep for short periods of time since previous studies indicate, for a short time later, sleep deprivation enhances slow-wave sleep. Another group was treated with sodium oxybate, a drug used to induce a state of slow wave sleep as in patients with narcolepsy. A third group received a placebo.
One day after the injury and then over the next five years, researchers modulate sleep of animals. Using recordings of electroencephalography (EEG) during treatment, they confirmed that animals experienced slow wave sleep improvement, as a result of treatment. Then the rats took a memory test, and team examined their brains for axonal damage, focusing on the areas involved in learning and memory, including the hippocampus.
They found that the rats receiving treatments to improve slow wave sleep were better able to recognize familiar objects that untreated rats. In addition, researchers found that levels of a biomarker of diffuse axonal injury was reduced by almost 80 percent in animals that had experienced more sleep compared with untreated rats.
While more studies are needed, the work suggests slow wave sleep administered immediately after brain injury helps block axonal damage and preserve the normal function of the brain, says Baumann.
“Despite the high prevalence of traumatic brain injury worldwide, there are very few effective treatments to alleviate the persistent deterioration in memory and cognitive function,” says Miranda Lim, a neurologist Oregon Health & Science University who was not involved in the study. “This study provides important evidence that manipulation of sleep may be a promising way to improve recovery after TBI.”
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