Authors: Olivia Stevenson, Future Science Group
Research presented at SfN Neuroscience 2018 (3–7 November, San Diego, CA, USA) has highlighted the impact that circadian rhythm disruption can have on a variety of brain disorders, and that unusual sleep–wake cycles may not only be a side effect of a brain disorder, but could also drive brain pathology and potentially exacerbate symptoms.
Disrupted sleep is often linked to brain disorders such as anxiety, dementia and traumatic brain injuries. However, an improved understanding of the brain mechanisms associated with this could allow potential treatments to be developed.
One study observed the differences in sleep and wakefulness in individuals with and without concussions, respectively. When allowed to sleep, concussed individuals had less restorative sleep, but showed no more signs of sleepiness than individuals without concussion when asked to take a wakefulness test after a period of forced sleeplessness.