Sleep Research and Effects on Neurological Conditions: Raman Malhotra, MD


Experts continue to explore connections between sleep health and neurological disorders, as well as technology for measuring patients’ sleep.

“I think we still learning why … and what interventions can we do besides just saying, ‘get enough sleep,’ that’s going to be important to preserve that brain health.”

Connections between sleep health and neurological disorders remains an area where additional research is needed, according to Raman Malhotra, MD, associate professor of neurology, Washington University in St. Louis. Although, Malhotra believes research is still in its infancy when it comes to the impact of sleep on conditions such as dementia, recent studies have shown sleep obtained in young to mid-adulthood may eventually affect brain health in later years.

When treating sleep conditions, Malhotra further discussed new technological advancements in measuring sleep as an area where sleep experts often struggle. In discussion with NeurologyLive, Malhotra called attention to the altered environment patients experience when sleep is studied in sleep clinics, which may not be representative of true sleep states and patterns. Implementing new techniques where researchers can measure sleep quality at home may be the answer to learning more about how sleep impacts health.

By integrating these safe and noninvasive techniques, sleep health and sleep disorders may be more easily evaluated and diagnosed, effectively advancing initiatives outlined in a recent position statement published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. According to the statement, sleep not only plays a vital role in overall well-being, but continues to affect people of all ages and impact general public safety. 

Ramar K, Malhotra RK, Carden KA, et al. Sleep is essential to health: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. J Clin Sleep Med. Published online June 21, 2021. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.9476 
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