Poor Self-Reported Sleep is Related to Regional Cortical Thinning in Aging but not Memory Decline-Results From the Lifebrain Consortium

Anders M Fjell, Øystein Sørensen, Inge K Amlien, David Bartrés-Faz et al. Cerebral Cortex, 2021 Mar 5;31(4):1953-1969. 


We examined whether sleep quality and quantity are associated with cortical and memory changes in cognitively healthy participants across the adult lifespan. Associations between self-reported sleep parameters (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, PSQI) and longitudinal cortical change were tested using five samples from the Lifebrain consortium (n = 2205, 4363 MRIs, 18-92 years). In additional analyses, we tested coherence with cell-specific gene expression maps from the Allen Human Brain Atlas, and relations to changes in memory performance. "PSQI # 1 Subjective sleep quality" and "PSQI #5 Sleep disturbances" were related to thinning of the right lateral temporal cortex, with lower quality and more disturbances being associated with faster thinning. The association with "PSQI #5 Sleep disturbances" emerged after 60 years, especially in regions with high expression of genes related to oligodendrocytes and S1 pyramidal neurons. None of the sleep scales were related to a longitudinal change in episodic memory function, suggesting that sleep-related cortical changes were independent of cognitive decline. The relationship to cortical brain change suggests that self-reported sleep parameters are relevant in lifespan studies, but small effect sizes indicate that self-reported sleep is not a good biomarker of general cortical degeneration in healthy older adults.

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Tags: aging; atrophy; cortex; sleep.
Published Dec. 1, 2020 2:10 PM - Last modified Mar. 17, 2021 1:42 PM