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Sleep Apnea Linked to Cognitive Deficits Post Traumatic Brain Injury

Car accident or motorcycle accident victims who suffer from a brain injury may also be at risk of suffering from sleep apnea, which, in turn, can impact cognitive function after their personal injury.

The results of a new study that was published this month found that traumatic brain injury patients who also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea may suffer cognitive deficits that are much more severe than in those patients who do not suffer from sleep apnea.  Researchers focused on a small sample of 60 participants who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. All patients had been treated at a rehabilitation hospital and underwent a polysomnography test about a month after they were discharged.

The researchers found that almost 75%  of the patients suffered from obstructive sleep apnea in the month after they were discharged from the hospital. About 27 patients suffered from moderate-to-severe sleep apnea.  and about 19 suffered from mild symptoms of sleep apnea. The researchers administered the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone to assess the patient’s performance on parameters like language, memory, attention and reasoning.  They found that patients who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea after the personal injury had greater cognitive deficits on the test.  Surprisingly, it was the patients who suffered from mild symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea who had worse outcomes in memory and executive function.

The researchers concluded that obstructive sleep apnea is highly prevalent among traumatic brain injury patients and that it is important for obstructive sleep apnea screening to be included for patients who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury in a slip and fall accident, car accident or any type of accident.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which there is a disturbance in the respiratory patterns while sleeping, and this could cause breathing failures that last for a few seconds.  In severe cases, a person may be awakened several times during the night because of these respiratory disturbances.  Sleep apnea has also been linked to fatigue, sleeplessness and drowsiness in the night-time. When a person has been awakened several times at night, it disturbs his regular sleep patterns and reduces the amount of healthy sleep that he gets.  As a result, there may be fatigue and drowsiness the next day and this could be very dangerous when the person is driving. Sleep apnea, for instance, is a huge problem among truck drivers, and is considered a significant accident threat.

The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages.   You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages.  Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.

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