Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's occur as a result of the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons. Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption (SCRD) is often associated with neurodegenerative disease as well as other neurological conditions such as chronic pain and stroke.
SCRD treatment is emerging as a possible approach to improve the overall health of patients, and in some conditions slow the progression of decline. For example, the impact of fragmented night-time sleep in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is very debilitating to both patients and caregivers and is a primary reason for patient institutionalisation. Preliminary studies have shown that sleep stabilisation in combination with light therapy in institutionalised patients with AD, improves night-time sleep, elevates daytime activity, decreases daytime sleep and produces a significant improvement in cognition.
We are currently developing research proposals across this theme to:
- Define the nature of SCRD in neurodegenerative disease, pain and stroke.
- Address the causal relationships between SCRD, neurodegenerative disease, pain and stroke.
- Determine the appropriate next steps for the prevention and amelioration of SCRD.