There is no significant association between sleep disruption and depressive symptoms in men post-mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), according to study results presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, held from June 3 to 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Previous research has established a direct link between sleep loss and symptoms of depression. In mTBI, patients often experience emotional dysregulation and poor sleep quality. Researchers conducted a study to assess the association between mTBI and mood over time.
Due to differences between men and women in sleep and depression, for the study, the researchers focused on men exclusively. The sample included 15 men without mTBI with an average age of 23.67 years (standard deviation [SD], 5.066 years). There were 41 men with mTBI with an average age of 26.88 years (SD, 8.509 years) included at different stages post-injury (2 weeks and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months).
The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Beck Depression Index (BDI-II) were used to assess participant sleep and mood. Higher scores on both scales indicated greater severity of the respective conditions. Analysis was conducted using a one-way analysis of variance, ANOVA.
The researchers did not find any significant differences between patients with or without mTBI in average depression scores at all stages post-surgery (P >.05). However, they reported a significant increase in depression scores for patients 3 months post-TBI compared with those without mTBI (mean, 9.8; SD, 9.48; P =.035). There was an increased disruption in sleep for patients with mTBI compared with those without TBI at 3 months (mean, 7.30; SD, 3.16; P =.035) and 12 months (mean, 7.0; SD, 3.39; P =.037). The data were not significant at the other time points post-mTBI.
“These results indicate that males may not initially present depressive symptoms and sleep disruption post-mTBI, which could result in an inaccurate assessment of injury severity and an improper treatment plan moving forward in recovery,” study authors stated. “Further research conducted with a larger sample size would be useful in establishing that males suffering from mTBI experience the most severe presentation of symptoms roughly 3M [months] after injury.”
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Reich-Fuhrer M, Hildebrand L, Franca G, Desai S, Grandner M, Killgore W. Delayed presentation of sleep disruption and depressive symptoms in males post mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Abstract presented at: SLEEP 2023; June 3-7, 2023; Indianapolis, IN. Abstract 0639.