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The long-term goal of Dr. Kimberly Allenâs program of research is to improve functional outcomes of children with brain injuries by identifying the specific sleep disturbances children develop across the illness trajectory and identifying the mechanisms that trigger sleep disturbances such as the potential activation of the inflammatory cascade and the activation of predisposing genetic factors.
Dr. Allenâs research is focused on examining how sleep behaviors of children who have sustained a brain injury impact functional outcomes. Sleep is thought to be necessary to maintain homeostasis allowing neurons to maintain their function in cognition and learning during periods of wakefulness. With sleep being critical to cognition and learning, children with brain injuries need adequate sleep to recover from the evolving injury with the hope they will continue to meet developmental milestones. Thus sleep is critical for these children to thrive following a brain injury. This program of research could support changes in the environment that children with brain injuries receive care within the hospital and also lead to interventions to improve sleep after discharge from the hospital. To conduct this research, Dr. Allen collaborates with experts in the disciplines of critical care, neurology, rehabilitation, and sleep medicine.
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