Non-rapid eye movement sleep instability in mild cognitive impairment: A pilot study

Michelangelo Maestri, Luca Carnicelli, Gloria Tognoni, Elisa Di Coscio, Filippo Sean Giorgi, Leda Volpi, Nicholas Tiberio Economou, Periklis Ktonas, Raffaele Ferri, Ubaldo Bonuccelli, Enrica Bonanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Polysomnographic (PSG) studies in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are not conclusive and are limited only to conventional sleep parameters. The aim of our study was to evaluate sleep architecture and cyclic alternating pattern (CAP) parameters in subjects with MCI, and to assess their eventual correlation with cognition. Methods: Eleven subjects with MCI (mean age 68.5 ± 7.0 years), 11 patients with mild probable Alzheimer's disease (AD; mean age 72.7 ± 5.9 years), referred to the Outpatient Cognitive Disorders Clinic, and 11 cognitively intact healthy elderly individuals (mean age 69.2 ± 12.6 years) underwent ambulatory PSG for the evaluation of nocturnal sleep architecture and CAP parameters. Results: Rapid eye movement sleep, CAP rate, and CAP slow components (A1 index) were decreased in MCI subjects and to a greater extent in AD patients, compared to cognitively intact controls. AD showed also decreased slow wave sleep (SWS) relative to healthy elderly individuals. MCI nappers showed decreased nocturnal SWS and A1 subtypes compared to non-nappers. Several correlations between sleep variables and neuropsychological tests were found. Conclusions: MCI and AD subjects showed a decreased sleep instability correlated with their cognitive decline. Such a decrease may be considered as a potential biomarker of underlying neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1145
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cyclic alternating pattern
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Nap
  • Neurodegeneration
  • NREM sleep instability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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