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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Blind Child/Adolescent Sleep Study

The Sleep and Mood Disorders Laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, is seeking young blind children (ages 5-8) and blind adolescents (ages 17-20) who have no light perception to screen for participation in a research study.
It is known that most blind children and adults have sleep problems. We know that this is usually due to problems in the body’s internal clock, located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The body clocks of sighted people are reset every day by the daily rising and setting of the sun. However, this is not possible for the blind. Blind children and teenagers tend to have natural body rhythms which free-run, meaning that their natural body rhythms drift later each day, causing sleep and activity problems. This is similar to the jet lag that people sometimes get when they travel.
The purpose of this study is to learn more about body rhythms in blind boys and girls that keep them from falling asleep at bed-time or cause them difficulty staying alert during the day. Free-running rhythms will be examined using sleep diaries and wristwatch-style activity monitors, and by measuring melatonin levels in saliva. Sleep quality and daytime functioning will be determined by questionnaires completed by participants, teachers, and parents. The studies may involve daytime saliva collection sessions, collected at the participants’ home,. Participants will have the option to extend participation for up to 2 years. Sampling periods will be shorter and less frequent, as necessary, to accommodate the participant and/or parents. All costs of participation will be covered by the investigators.
If you know of any potential candidates who may qualify and/or who are interested in learning more about the study, please have the candidate or their parent(s) contact or call Stevie Hodge, Research Assistant, at 503-494-5687.

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