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Title: Neurodegeneration and brain cancer : a longitudinal field study of rest-activity and sleep
Author: Wams, Emma J.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis investigates rest-activity and sleep profiles in neurodegeneration and brain cancer. Study 1 comprised longitudinal field assessments of rest-activity, sleep and memory in controls and memory-impairment individuals with: subjective memory complaint (SMC), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), mild and moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Four questions were addressed: (1) is SMC a prodromal stage of AD? (2) do characteristics of SMC predict future decline? (3) does cholinergic medication (ChEI) impact rest-activity and sleep of moderate AD patients? and (4) are there factors predicting response to ChEI? Study 2 assessed rest-activity and melatonin rhythms in a brain cancer patient (JJB), and post-mortem analysis of brain tissue assessed infiltration of cancer cells on the circadian clock (SCN). Both studies used questionnaires, cognitive tests, electroencephalography and actigraphy simultaneously at patients’ homes. In Study 1, the SMC group showed a reduced activity amplitude to be correlated with increasing memory impairment severity, lower sleep quality and efficiency. Increased sleep fragmentation was observed in all memory-impaired groups, although not correlated to impairment severity. Increased fragmentation of rest-activity rhythm correlated with increasing memory impairment severity in all groups except SMC. Following ChEI medication with donepezil, moderate AD patients showed increased sleep fragmentation, probably due to potentiation of available acetylcholine known to maintain arousal. Higher daytime-activity and lower activity in the rest-phase, when drug-naïve, predicted improved cognition following ChEIs. In Study 2, cancer cell infiltration of the patient’s SCN was confirmed. However, a robust circadian rest-activity period with a misaligned melatonin phase, was recorded, indicating that the effects of partial SCN lesions in humans are complex and this result was possibly in part are due to the masking effect of social behaviour.
Supervisor: Foster, Russell G.; Wilcock, Gordon; Wulff, Katharina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Biology (medical sciences) ; Geratology ; Ophthamology ; Tumours ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Neuropathology ; Old Age psychiatry ; Memory ; Cognition ; Oncology ; neurodegeneration ; brain cancer ; Alzheimer's disease ; sleep ; circadian