Each year over 500,000 children are treated in emergency rooms all over the country for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Such an injury can cause a range of short- and long-term symptoms. A recent study shows that children who experience a TBI are more likely to also experience symptoms like daytime sleepiness, poorer sleep quality and sleep disturbances. They may also have impaired physical, emotional and social functioning, especially when compared with children who have not experienced TBI.
Kimberly Allen, PhD, RN, and her team studied the sleep patterns of 15 children who had a TBI and compared them with 15 children who had never suffered head trauma. The children were also matched on age, race, and maternal education level. They found that children with TBI demonstrated statistically significant increases in daytime sleepiness. Allen noted that “in most studies of pediatric TBI and sleep, sleep has been a secondary aim, not a primary aim…This study provides a first glance at what children with TBI look like in terms of sleep compared to their peers that are healthy, typically developing children. We need more research in this area.”
Others in the TBI community are taking notice of this new study. According to Suresh Kotagal, MD, “The results are important as they address an important gap in pediatric sleep medicine, i.e., hypersomnia, that develops after head injury.” Shalini Paruthi, MD, agreed, stating that TBI “hasn’t been studied enough, so it’s great to have this pilot data. Being able to recognize that sleep problems might be part of the TBI effects is very important…As part of comprehensive care for our kids who have traumatic brain injuries, we should also be thinking about their sleep. Better sleep may have an impact on healing. We don’t know that yet, but it’s possible.”
In conclusion, Allen stated that “For clinicians treating children with TBI, it’s worth asking children or their parents about their sleep.”
If you have a child who has suffered a TBI, you may have legal grounds to seek compensation. If your child was injured in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, such as a drunk driver, the liable party should be held responsible. The team at the Gilleon Law Firm, APC has the resources and legal knowledge you need to pursue a personal injury case on your behalf. Call us today for more information.