Authors: Alice Weatherston
Thanh Dang-Vu is currently an Assistant Professor at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). He holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Sleep, Neuroimaging and Cognitive Health, as well as a CIHR New Investigator Award. He is also an attending neurologist and a researcher at the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM, Canada), a clinical professor in the department of Neurosciences at the University of Montreal, and an adjunct professor of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University.
For our Neurology Central focus on sleep we talked to Dr Dang-Vu about his research in sleep medicine, including current ‘hot topics’ and the future direction of research in the field.
Your research primarily centres on sleep and it’s interplay with neurological functioning – why do you think that this area of research is so important?
Sleep is disrupted in many neurological diseases. On the other hand, disrupted sleep has many detrimental consequences on brain health. Sleep and neurological conditions are thus naturally connected, both in terms of mechanistic pathways and therapeutic management strategies. While sleep disturbances are sometimes undervalued by neurological patients and clinicians alike, effective treatments exist for certain sleep disorders and may thus improve the quality of life and the neurological health of patients.
Why do you think the role of sleep is sometimes undervalued?
Sleep medicine is a relatively new and multidisciplinary field, encompassing neurology, psychiatry, pulmonology and internal medicine, among others. As such, it is often not considered as a main focus in neurology. Furthermore, coverage of sleep and sleep disorders throughout the medical curriculum is often quite limited, and sleep medicine remains a highly specialized subspecialty.