Correlations between sleep disturbance and brain structures associated with neurodegeneration in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set

Published:August 12, 2022DOI:


      • Sleep disturbance was associated with greater volumes in the lateral ventricles and greater total white matter hyperintensities.
      • Sleep disturbance was associated with lower mean volumes in 12 hippocampal, frontal, parietal, and temporal lobe regions.
      • Males, Hispanic participants, and those with less formal education were more likely to report sleep disruption.
      • A dementia diagnosis moderated the relationship between sleep disturbance and right and left lateral ventricular volumes.


      This study aimed to 1) determine the association between sleep disturbance and brain structure volumes, 2) the moderation effect of apolipoprotein ε4 genotype on sleep disturbance and brain structures, and 3) the moderation effect of sleep disturbance on cognitive status and regional brain volumes.
      Using the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set (n = 1,533), multiple linear regressions were used to evaluate the association between sleep disturbance and brain volumes. Sleep disturbance was measured using one question from the NPI-Q.
      After controlling for intracranial volume, age, sex, years of education, race, ethnicity, and applying the FDR correction, total cerebrospinal fluid volume, left lateral ventricle volume, total lateral ventricle volume, and total third ventricle volume demonstrated significantly higher means for those with sleep disturbance. Total brain volume, total white and gray matter volume, total cerebrum brain volume (including gray but not white matter), left hippocampus volume, total hippocampal volume, the left, right, and total frontal lobe cortical gray matter volume, and the left, right, and total temporal lobe cortical gray matter volume demonstrated significantly lower mean volumes for those with sleep disturbance. Sleep disturbance moderated the association between cognitive status and lateral ventricular volumes. These findings suggest that disrupted sleep is associated with atrophy across multiple brain regions and ventricular hydrocephalus ex vacuo.



      AD (Alzheimer's Disease), APOE e4 (apolipoprotein e4)
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