Entry for:ASA Peer Prize in Sleep Research
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) is a highly prevalent, often undiagnosed primary circadian sleep disorder, caused by a delay in the endogenous circadian clock. Here we demonstrated that almost 50% of patients clinically diagnosed with DSPD did not show evidence of having a delay in circadian clock relative to desired bedtime, suggesting a non-circadian etiology for their sleep complaints. Additionally, we found that those with circadian misalignment showed significantly elevated depressive symptoms, providing further evidence for a circadian basis for mood disturbances. These findings support the measurement of the melatonin rhythm to distinguish patients with and without circadian misalignment, as a part of the routine diagnostic process. Furthermore, measurement of the melatonin rhythm may improve treatment outcomes by more accurately phenotyping patients to identify those who are likely to benefit from chronobiological treatments, and to optimise the timing of chronobiological treatments such as light-dark exposure and melatonin.
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3. Do you have any ideas to expand upon this research? Are you looking for collaborators?
To extend this research, we are investigating non-invasive ways to predict circadian phase timing with easily obtained data, such as light/dark, and demographic information. As light is the main synchronizer of the endogenous body clock to a 24 hour cycle, we are using light information gathered by wearable devices.to which we will apply modeling techniques that enable us to predict timing of the endogenous body clock. This is a first step in developing a clinical tool that will improve diagnostic techniques and treatment outcomes for circadian rhythm sleep disorders.