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Aberrant brain-stem morphometry associated with sleep disturbance in drug-naïve subjects with Alzheimer's disease

Authors Lee JH, Jung WS, Choi WH, Lim H

Received 5 June 2016

Accepted for publication 12 July 2016

Published 23 August 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 2089—2093

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S114383

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi


Ji Han Lee,1 Won Sang Jung,2 Woo Hee Choi,3 Hyun Kook Lim4

1Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, MO, USA; 2Department of Radiology, 3Department of Nuclear Medicine, 4Department of Psychiatry, Saint Vincent Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Suwon, South Korea


Objective: Among patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sleep disturbances are common and serious noncognitive symptoms. Previous studies of AD patients have identified deformations in the brain stem, which may play an important role in the regulation of sleep. The aim of this study was to further investigate the relationship between sleep disturbances and alterations in brain stem morphology in AD.
Materials and methods: In 44 patients with AD and 40 healthy elderly controls, sleep disturbances were measured using the Neuropsychiatry Inventory sleep subscale. We employed magnetic resonance imaging-based automated segmentation tools to examine the relationship between sleep disturbances and changes in brain stem morphology.
Results: Analyses of the data from AD subjects revealed significant correlations between the Neuropsychiatry Inventory sleep-subscale scores and structural alterations in the left posterior lateral region of the brain stem, as well as normalized brain stem volumes. In addition, significant group differences in posterior brain stem morphology were observed between the AD group and the control group.
Conclusion: This study is the first to analyze an association between sleep disturbances and brain stem morphology in AD. In line with previous findings, this study lends support to the possibility that brain stem structural abnormalities might be important neurobiological mechanisms underlying sleep disturbances associated with AD. Further longitudinal research is needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, sleep, brain stem, MRI, shape analysis

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