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Results of concussion testing may be affected by poor sleep - research


Research has found that people who suffered from a sleep deprived night before a baseline concussion test were more likely to score poorly in contrast to their well rested counterparts. In sport, baseline concussion testing is vital in order to see if an athlete has fully recovered from a head injury, typically these tests are taken in advance of a sports season and if a concussion occurs during the course of the season, the same test is completed again by the athlete and the two scores are compared.

In the study presented at the annual meeting for the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), 3,686 non-concussed athletes in high school and college education took the test. The participants were divided into three groups based on the amount of hours they slept each night: 7 hours, 7-9 hours and over 9 hours. The results of the tests revealed that the group sleeping less than 7 hours scored significantly lower in terms of reaction time, verbal memory and visual memory.

"Our results indicate athletes sleeping less than 7 hours the night prior to baseline concussion testing did not do as well on 3 out of 4 ImPACT scores and showed more symptoms," lead author, Jake McClure, MD from Vanderbilt University told News Medical. "Because return-to-play decisions often hinge on the comparison of post-concussion to baseline concussion scores, our research indicates that healthcare providers should consider the sleep duration prior to baseline neurocognitive testing as a potential factor in assessing recovery."

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