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Disturbed Sleep Patterns in Elders with Mild Cognitive Impairment: The Role of Memory Decline and ApoE ε 4 Genotype

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Sleep disturbances are prevalent in patients with Alzheimer' disease (AD), being one of the most troubling symptoms during the progression of disease. However, little research has been made to determine if impaired sleep patterns appear years before AD diagnosis. This study tries to shed light on this issue by performing polysomnographic recordings in healthy elders and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). We further investigated whether changes in sleep patterns parallel memory decline as well as its relationship with the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε 4 genotype. Results showed a significant shortening of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep together with increased fragmentations of slow-wave sleep in MCI patients relative to healthy elders. Interestingly, we further showed that reduction of REM sleep in MCI patients with ApoE ε 4 was more noticeable than in ε 4 non-carriers. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, changes in sleep patterns were not correlated with memory performance in MCI patients. Instead, increased REM sleep accompanied enhanced immediate recall in MCI ε 4 non-carriers. Taken together, these results suggest that sleep disruptions are evident years before diagnosis of AD, which may have implications for early detection of dementia and/or therapeutic management of sleep complaints in MCI patients.
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Keywords: Aging; Alzheimer disease; ApoE; Dementia; Memory loss; Mild cognitive impairment; Polysomnography; REM; Sleep fragmentation; neurophysiological studies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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