Sleep-disordered Breathing More Prevalent in People with Spinal Cord Injury—And Linked to Worse Brain Blood Vessel Health
Fatigue and sleep may need more attention in order to prevent issues like stroke after spinal cord injury, finds a new study led by a University of Calgary researcher at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM).
“People with spinal cord injury have alarming rates of stroke, and we wanted to understand why,” says study lead Aaron Phillips, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, and member of the CSM’s Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, in a release.
Working with colleagues in Canada, Serbia, and Croatia, the team determined that fatigue and sleep issues were prevalent in people with spinal cord injury and that sleep-related breathing problems were associated with reduced brain health in this population.
The Power of Numbers
Using a dataset of more than 60,000 people, the researchers first revealed that individuals with spinal cord injury experience fatigue more than people without spinal cord injury. “The risk of fatigue is 9 times greater in individuals with spinal cord injury compared to those without,” says Phillips. “Prior to these results, I don’t really think…