Washington, March 1 IANS | 10 months ago

Troubled by inadequate sleep? See a doctor! A new study links lack of sleep with reduced gray matter in the brain and stresses the need to seek medical help if the problem persists.

A new study of the Gulf War veterans found an association between poor sleep quality and reduced gray matter volume in the brain's frontal lobe, which helps control important processes such as memory and executive functions.

"This study emphasises the importance of seeking medical help if you are troubled by the poor quality of sleep," said Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"A board certified sleep medicine physician can identify the cause of your sleep problem and develop an effective treatment plan for you."

"Previous imaging studies have suggested that sleep disturbances may be associated with structural brain changes in certain regions of the frontal lobe," said lead author Linda Chao, associate adjunct professor in the departments of radiology and biomedical imaging and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

"The surprising thing about this study is that it suggests poor sleep quality is associated with reduced gray matter volume throughout the entire frontal lobe and also globally in the brain."

Results showed that poorer subjective sleep quality was associated with reduced total cortical and regional frontal lobe gray matter volumes after controlling for potentially confounding variables such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, trauma exposure and psychotropic medication use, reported Science Daily.

The study might help explain the link between poor sleep quality and impaired psychosocial, physical and occupational functioning.

"This study emphasises the importance of seeking medical help if you are troubled by the poor quality of your sleep," said Badr.

"A board certified sleep medicine physician can identify the cause of your sleep problem and develop an effective treatment plan for you."

(Posted on 01-03-2014)

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