My research interests lie in exploring the relationship between sleep and cognitive function in healthy aging and in people living with dementia to determine if sleep features or changes are a predictor of cognitive decline or correlate with disease progression and if so, can be a target for interventions.
Background Nocturnal disturbance is frequently observed in dementia and is a major contributor to institutionalisation. Unobtrusive technology that can quantify sleep/wake and determine bed occupancy during the major nocturnal sleep episode may be beneficial for long-term clinical monitoring and the carer. Such technologies have, however, not been validated in older people. Here we assessed the performance of the Withings Sleep Mattress (WSM) in a heterogenous older population to ensure external validity. Method Eighteen participants (65 – 80 years, 10M:8F) completed 7-12 days of sleep/wake monitoring at home prior to an overnight laboratory session. WSM performance was compared to gold-standard (laboratory polysomnography [PSG] with video) and silver standard (actiwatch [AWS] and sleep diary at home). WSM data were downloaded from a third party API and the minute-to-minute sleep/wake timeseries extracted and time-ordered to create a sleep profile. Discontinuities in the timeseries were labelled as ‘missing data’ events. Results Participants contributed 107 nights with WSM and PSG or AWS data. In the laboratory, the overall epoch to epoch agreement (accuracy) of sleep/wake detection of WSM compared to PSG was 0.71 (sensitivity 0.8; specificity 0.45) and to AWS was 0.74 (sensitivity 0.77; specificity 0.53). Visual inspection of video recordings demonstrated that 20 of 21 ‘missing data’ events were true ‘out of bed’ events. These events were always associated with an increase in activity (AWS). At home, all 97 WSM ‘missing data’ events that occurred within the major nocturnal sleep episode defined by sleep diary data, were associated with an increase in activity levels in the AWS data and 36 of these events were also associated with an increase in light levels, indicating that the participant had left the bed. In several participants, data recorded by the WSM during daytime coincided with reported naps in the sleep diary. Conclusion Although WSM cannot reliably distinguish between sleep and wake, the presence/absence of data in WSM seem to be an accurate representation of whether older people are in or out of bed (bed occupancy). Thus, in dementia, this contactless, low-burden technology may be able to provide information about nocturnal disturbances and daytime naps in bed.
Nocturnal disturbance is frequently observed in dementia and is a major contributor to institutionalisation. Unobtrusive technology that can quantify sleep/wake and determine bed occupancy during the major nocturnal sleep episode may be beneficial for long-term clinical monitoring and the carer. Such technologies have, however, not been validated in older people. Here we assessed the performance of the Withings Sleep Mattress (WSM) in a heterogenous older population to ensure external validity.
Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings represent a vital component of the assessment of sleep physiology, but the methodology presently used is costly, intrusive to participants, and laborious in application. There is a recognized need to develop more easily applicable yet reliable EEG systems that allow unobtrusive long-term recording of sleep-wake EEG ideally away from the laboratory setting. cEEGrid is a recently developed flex-printed around-the-ear electrode array, which holds great potential for sleep-wake monitoring research. It is comfortable to wear, simple to apply, and minimally intrusive during sleep. Moreover, it can be combined with a smartphone-controlled miniaturized amplifier and is fully portable. Evaluation of cEEGrid as a motion-tolerant device is ongoing, but initial findings clearly indicate that it is very well suited for cognitive research. The present study aimed to explore the suitability of cEEGrid for sleep research, by testing whether cEEGrid data affords the signal quality and characteristics necessary for sleep stage scoring. In an accredited sleep laboratory, sleep data from cEEGrid and a standard PSG system were acquired simultaneously. Twenty participants were recorded for one extended nocturnal sleep opportunity. Fifteen data sets were scored manually. Sleep parameters relating to sleep maintenance and sleep architecture were then extracted and statistically assessed for signal quality and concordance. The findings suggest that the cEEGrid system is a viable and robust recording tool to capture sleep and wake EEG. Further research is needed to fully determine the suitability of cEEGrid for basic and applied research as well as sleep medicine.
Sleep and its sub-states are assumed to be important for brain function across the lifespan but which aspects of sleep associate with various aspects of cognition, mood and self-reported sleep quality has not yet been established in detail. Sleep was quantified by polysomnography, quantitative Electroencephalogram (EEG) analysis and self-report in 206 healthy men and women, aged 20–84 years, without sleep complaints. Waking brain function was quantified by five assessments scheduled across the day covering objectively assessed performance across cognitive domains including sustained attention and arousal, decision and response time, motor and sequence control, working memory, and executive function as well as self-reports of alertness, mood and affect. Controlled for age and sex, self-reported sleep quality was negatively associated with number of awakenings and positively associated with the duration of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, but no significant associations with Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) measures were observed. Controlling only for age showed that associations between objective and subjective sleep quality were much stronger in women than in men. Analysis of 51 performance measures demonstrated that, after controlling for age and sex, fewer awakenings and more REM sleep were associated significantly with better performance on the Goal Neglect task, which is a test of executive function. Factor analysis of the individual performance measures identified four latent variables labeled Mood/Arousal, Response Time, Accuracy, and Visual Perceptual Sensitivity. Whereas Mood/Arousal improved with age, Response Times became slower, while Accuracy and Visual perceptual sensitivity showed little change with age. After controlling for sex and age, nominally significant association between sleep and factor scores were observed such that Response Times were faster with more SWS, and Accuracy was reduced where individuals woke more often or had less REM sleep. These data identify a positive contribution of SWS to processing speed and in particular highlight the importance of sleep continuity and REM sleep for subjective sleep quality and performance accuracy across the adult lifespan. These findings warrant further investigation of the contribution of sleep continuity and REM sleep to brain function.
Quantification of sleep is important for the diagnosis of sleep disorders and sleep research. However, the only widely accepted method to obtain sleep staging is by visual analysis of polysomnography (PSG), which is expensive and time consuming. Here, we investigate automated sleep scoring based on a low‐cost, mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) platform consisting of a lightweight EEG amplifier combined with flex‐printed cEEGrid electrodes placed around the ear, which can be implemented as a fully self‐applicable sleep system. However, cEEGrid signals have different amplitude characteristics to normal scalp PSG signals, which might be challenging for visual scoring. Therefore, this study evaluates the potential of automatic scoring of cEEGrid signals using a machine learning classifier (“random forests”) and compares its performance with manual scoring of standard PSG. In addition, the automatic scoring of cEEGrid signals is compared with manual annotation of the cEEGrid recording and with simultaneous actigraphy. Acceptable recordings were obtained in 15 healthy volunteers (aged 35 ± 14.3 years) during an extended nocturnal sleep opportunity, which induced disrupted sleep with a large inter‐individual variation in sleep parameters. The results demonstrate that machine‐learning‐based scoring of around‐the‐ear EEG outperforms actigraphy with respect to sleep onset and total sleep time assessments. The automated scoring outperforms human scoring of cEEGrid by standard criteria. The accuracy of machine‐learning‐based automated scoring of cEEGrid sleep recordings compared with manual scoring of standard PSG was satisfactory. The findings show that cEEGrid recordings combined with machine‐learning‐based scoring holds promise for large‐scale sleep studies.
Revell VL, della Monica, C, Mendis, J, Hassanin, H, Halter, RJ, Chaplan, SR & Dijk, D-J. (2021). Effects of the selective orexin-2 receptor antagonist JNJ-48816274 on sleep initiated in the circadian wake maintenance zone: a randomised trial. Neuropsychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-021-01175-3.
Mikkelsen K.B, Ebajemito, J.K., Bonmati-Carrion, M.A., Santhi, N., Revell, V.L., Atzori, G., della Monica, C., Debener, S., Dijk, D-J., Sterr, A., de Vos, M. (2018). Machine learning derived sleep-wake staging from around-the-ear EEG outperforms manual scoring and actigraphy. Journal of Sleep Research. Nov 13:e12786. DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12786.
Sterr A., Ebajemito, J.K., Mikkelsen K.B, Bonmati-Carrion, M.A., Santhi, N., Atzori, G., della Monica, C., Grainger, L., Revell, V.L., Debener, S., Dijk, D-J., de Vos, M. Sleep EEG derived from behind-the-ear electrodes (cEEGrid) compared to standard polysomnography: A proof of concept study. Frontiers Human Neurosci. 2018 Nov 26;12:452. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00452.
della Monica, C., Dijk, D-J. (2018). What makes a good night’s sleep? The external and internal factors that influence a good night’s sleep. Physiology News. Winter 2018, Issue 113, p36-39.
della Monica, C., Johnsen, S., Atzori, G., Groeger, J. A., Dijk, D-J. (2018). Rapid-Eye-Movement Sleep, Sleep Continuity and Slow Wave Sleep as Predictors of Cognition, Mood and Subjective Sleep Quality in Healthy Men and Women, Aged 20-84 Years. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Jun 22;9:255. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00255.
Cerasuolo, M., Giganti, F., Conte, F., Costanzo, L. M., della Monica, C., Arzilli, A., Marchesano, R., Perrella, A. & Ficca, G. (2016). Schooltime subjective sleepiness and performance in Italian primary school children. Chronobiology International. DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2016.1178274.
della Monica, C., Atzori, G., Dijk, D-J. (2015). Effects of lunar phase on sleep in men and women in Surrey. Journal of Sleep Research. DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12312.
Marcone, R., della Monica, C., Caputo, A. (2015). Friendship competence in kindergarten and primary school children. European Journal of Developmental Psychology. DOI:10.1080/17405629.2015.1031215.
Barbato, G., Costanzo, A., della Monica, C., D'Onofrio, P., Cerrato, F., De Padova, V. (2013) Effects of prolonged wakefulness: The role of PERIOD3 genotypes and personality traits. Psychological Reports; 113(2):540-551.
Barbato, G., della Monica, C., Costanzo, A., De Padova, V. (2012) Dopamine activation in Neuroticism as measured by spontaneous eye blink rate. Physiology and Behavior. 105:332-336.
Di Lorenzo, D., Barbato, G., Conte, F., Costanzo, A., della Monica, C., Serio, M., Ficca, G. (2011) Leptin and mood disorders. Italian Journal of Psychopathology, 17:183-192.