DOD funds study to improve sleep, clearance of the brain

The U.S. Department of Defense is funding the first human trial of a device to speed up and enhance the natural system of brain cleansing that occurs when we sleep. 

The trial will be conducted among 90 people at three trial sites – University of North Carolina, University of Washington School of Medicine, and a collaboration between Oregon Health & Science University and the Brain Electrophysiology Laboratory (BEL). Results are expected in the fall of 2022.

Functional prototype to test in-home sleep treatment. Electronics and battery are perched on top of the head. Next generation of the device will have electronics/battery integrated in the headband.

Recent discoveries point to the importance of quality sleep for clearance of brain metabolic waste through the newly-discovered brain glymphatic system. If sleep is disrupted, so are these crucial processes, leading to cognitive impairment – things like faulty motor coordination, attention deficits, slower processing speed, decreased decision-making capabilities, and hampered short-term memory, in addition to increasing risk of neurodegenerative disease later in life. These issues can have life-or-death consequences for service members in the U.S. military, which is why the Department of Defense is funding innovative research initiatives, including this three-year, $4.3-million, project with the ultimate goal of helping service members overcome acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep restriction.

The scientists leading this effort are from UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Washington School of Medicine, the Brain Electrophysiology Lab Oregon Health & Science University, and Montana State University.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “DOD funds study to improve sleep, clearance of the brain

  1. Interesting research into the importance of sleep health. I was referred for sleep study a few years following my ABI. The results of the 1 night sleep study indicated that I qualified for the CPAP funding for people who have sleep apnea. The threshold for qualifying is a score of 5.0 in any category. Sleeping on my ride which is my usual sleep position did not meet the threshold. Sleeping on my back which I rarely choose I only slightly exceeded the qualifying threshold.
    The CPAP protocol has improved my sleep pattern. Unfortunately the attending doctor has no training or working knowledge with TBI. As a result any discussions I have attempted surround my TBI as it relates to sleep quality has failed to lead to any additional insight or helpful adjustment to my CPAP use protocol.

    Liked by 1 person

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