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Chronic sleep disturbance and neural injury: links to neurodegenerative disease

Authors Abbott S, Videnovic A

Received 20 September 2015

Accepted for publication 30 November 2015

Published 25 January 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 55—61


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea

Sabra M Abbott,1 Aleksandar Videnovic2

1Department of Neurology, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Abstract: Sleep–wake disruption is frequently observed and often one of the earliest reported symptoms of many neurodegenerative disorders. This provides insight into the underlying pathophysiology of these disorders, as sleep–wake abnormalities are often accompanied by neurodegenerative or neurotransmitter changes. However, in addition to being a symptom of the underlying neurodegenerative condition, there is also emerging evidence that sleep disturbance itself may contribute to the development and facilitate the progression of several of these disorders. Due to its impact both as an early symptom and as a potential factor contributing to ongoing neurodegeneration, the sleep–wake cycle is an ideal target for further study for potential interventions not only to lessen the burden of these diseases but also to slow their progression. In this review, we will highlight the sleep phenotypes associated with some of the major neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on the circadian disruption associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the rapid eye movement behavior disorder and sleep fragmentation associated with Parkinson’s disease, and the insomnia and circadian dysregulation associated with Huntington’s disease.

Keywords: sleep, neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease

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