Study: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Can Cause Ongoing Sleep and Fatigue Issues

A newly released study indicates that the effects of even mild traumatic brain (mTBI) injury can involve interrupted sleep and ongoing fatigue. reports that Simon Berg Saksvik of the  Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, led a team that studied the effects of mTBI, and compared people who had suffered mTBI with people who had suffered orthopedic injuries and others who were matched community controls. 

The researchers found that those who had suffered mTBI had a higher probability of increased sleep need, poor sleep quality, and fatigue when compared with the other groups. The mTBI group also showed signs of increased daytime sleepiness compared with the orthopedic trauma group.

Those who had suffered complicated mTBI, as measured by tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, suffered more fatigue than those who had suffered uncomplicated mTBI. But surprisingly, the mTBI group tended to suffer either sleep issues or fatigue issues, but not both.“Interestingly, we observed limited overlap between the different symptom measures; a large number of patients reported one specific problem with SWD or fatigue rather than several problems,” the team observed. 

Overall, the study revealed that about 33% of the mTBI group were still experiencing sleep-wake and fatigue issues a year after their suffering their injuries. “In conclusion, our results provide strong evidence that mTBI contributes significantly to the development and maintenance of SWDs and fatigue.” the team concluded.