Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

NEW INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CLINICAL RESEARCH IN SLEEP AND CIRCADIAN DISORDERS

Much of the current clinical research on sleep and circadian research depends on cohorts designed for other purposes. While this has been helpful, such studies have limitations. These limitations are related to availability of in-depth phenotyping data and questions as to whether individuals identified in population studies are equivalent to those who present clinically with specific disorders. These concerns could ...more »

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Sleep and circadian disorders are extremely common. For many of these we know little about the natural history, whether different subgroups exist and effects of current therapies. Thus, developing specific registries for common sleep and circadian disorders would provide a basis for addressing these questions.

 

For some aspects, e.g., studies of inadequate sleep, impact of snoring and circadian disruption, would be facilitated by developing a specific sleep/circadian cohort with in-depth phenotyping. This strategy has worked extremely well in other areas, e.g., cardiovascular disease. The lack of this type of cohort for sleep and circadian disorders is a barrier to progress in this area. The high prevalence of these disorders and their known public health significance argue that development of such a cohort would be a game changer and accelerate progress in this new area of medicine.

 

Such a cohort could address several compelling questions:

 

a. What is the natural history of short sleep across the lifespan?

b. What is the impact of snoring? Does it lead, as has been proposed, to vibration injury to carotid arteries with accelerated vessel wall damage?

c. Are there different subtypes of individuals with the different sleep and circadian disorders?

d. What is the natural history of shift-workers and what types of shifts lead to increased risk for cardiovascular disease?

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Problems with sleep and circadian rhythm and the relevant disorders are common. There are multiple accredited sleep centers for clinical purposes in the United Sates. They use common phenotyping platforms that could be the basis of some aspects of addressing this critical challenge. Moreover, most CTSA programs have a sleep study component. There are patient support groups for sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy. Thus, these groups could be marshaled to help in this effort. There is already a Sleep Research Network that was founded by the field itself. It is currently based on volunteer effort and there are no resources to support it. It could be the basis for future activities in this area.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

DEVELOPMENT OF BIOMARKERS FOR SLEEP INSUFFICIENCY, CIRCADIAN DISRUPTION AND SLEEP DISORDERS

There is an urgent need to develop quantifiable biomarkers for acute sleep loss, chronic sleep insufficiency, circadian disruption and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. These problems are highly prevalent but currently we do not have biomarkers to use for case identification, prognosis, or assessing response to therapy. There are currently small studies that indicate the feasibility. A recent workshop ...more »

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The following will be the impact of addressing this critical challenge:

 

1. Having an assessment that can be used following a crash to assess the level of sleep loss of the driver.

2. Having a method to assess chronic sleep insufficiency as a potential pathogenetic process in patients with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, etc.

3. Having a method to estimate circadian phase so that in patients with chronic insomnia one can identify individuals with delayed sleep phase.

4. Having a technique to establish magnitude of circadian disruption to assess its role in pathogenesis of diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

5. Add a molecular biomarker to other techniques to screen for obstructive sleep apnea in high risk populations such as obese commercial drivers.

6. Utilize a biomarker signature to identify who with obstructive sleep apnea will be particularly at risk for downstream consequences such as cardiovascular disease.

7. Develop the equivalent of HbA1C to assess therapeutic response to CPAP

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The first challenge is to identify a signature for each of these use cases. This will require initial studies in a small number of well phenotyped subjects with all the “-omic” techniques. Thereafter, these multiple cohorts, already available with blood samples, etc. and relative phenotype can be used for validation purposes.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

INVESTIGATE DIFFERENTIAL VULNERABILITY TO SLEEP DEFICIENCY AND CIRCADIAN DISRUPTION

Studies in different subjects have shown that there are major individual differences in response to sleep loss and circadian disruption. Twin studies have shown that this is heritable. There needs to be an intensive effort to assess basis of these individual differences. This could include in-depth phenotyping studies, e.g., neuroimaging, genetic studies, “-omic” studies, epigenetic changes, etc.

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

There are major individual differences in response to sleep loss (both acute and chronic) and to circadian disruption. This has major impact both in terms of health consequences and in safety. Some individuals are particularly vulnerable to sleep loss and hence are more likely to have adverse consequences of losing sleep—increased risk of crashes, errors by physicians, etc. They are also more likely to be affected by metabolic and other consequences if they have chronic insufficient sleep.

 

Identifying the basis of these individual differences will have several impacts:

 

1. It will provide likely targets for development of biomarkers to assess effect of sleep loss and circadian disruption.

2. It will provide tools to risk stratify individuals and to employ preventative strategies to reduce risk of major adverse consequences.

3. It will identify novel pathways that could be the target for future intervention studies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

These studies are highly feasible. Phenotyping and recruitment strategies to study this question have been established in many laboratories. Moreover, more laboratories are utilizing genetic, -omic approaches and epigenetic approaches that could be applied to this question. There is also a developing repertoire of neuroimaging studies that can be applied to address this question.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

ROLE OF HEALTH DISPARITIES IN SLEEP AND CIRCADIAN HEALTH—ENVIRONMENT

Self-report data indicate that insufficient sleep is more common in minority populations. This seems to be related to socioeconomic status. There is a need to move this beyond self-report and obtain objective measures in the relevant populations. Moreover, the basis of this difference needs to be established. What aspect of the environment leads to these differences, e.g., noise, stress related to sense of vulnerability, ...more »

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Self-report indicates that sleep duration is lower in minority populations. This seems to be related to socioeconomic groups. To address this issue requires understanding the basis of this and developing appropriate interventions.

 

The impact of this is as follows:

 

a. Implementing new technology based on mobile approaches to assess sleep duration in subjects in different socioeconomic groups.

b. Developing a comprehensive approach to understanding and evaluating environmental influences in sleep and circadian rhythm.

c. Designing and testing intervention to increase sleep duration in disadvantaged populations.

d. Improving the sleep health of minority populations.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

There is rapidly developing new mobile technology to assess sleep duration and other phenotypes in individuals living in their normal lives. There are a number of studies currently being conducted that could be leveraged to address this question. There are also developing approaches to assess environmental influences on sleep and circadian rhythm such as noise, light exposure, etc. Thus, this question could be addressed in the near future.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

What are the biological consequences of sleep loss or disruption and how can they best be avoided?

Arousals in obstructive sleep apena (OSA) are life saving, but the associated disruption of sleep is now thought to cause cognitive impairment, increased risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, as well as glucose intolerance and metabolic syndrome. The mechanisms for these downstream effects, however, are not well understood. Can these specific pathophysiological mechanisms be identified, and can ways for mitigating ...more »

Submitted by (@csaper)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

By identifying the mechanisms by which sleep loss or disruption affects cognitive, cardiovascular, and metabolic function, we hope to find key regulatory points for which interventions may be developed. For example, if we can allow respiratory reflex responses to reopen the airway without EEG activation during OSA, we may be able to forestall some of the cognitive consequences of inadequate sleep. If we can prevent the autonomic responses associated with the EEG arousals and increases in respiratory drive, we may be able to block the repetiive elevations of blood pressure that lead to long term hypertension and accelerated atherosclerosis. If we can identify the reason for metabolic derangement associated with OSA, we may find, for example, that it is due to circadian misalignment and find ways to realign the sequence of metabolic events with the actual wake-sleep patterns of the patients. Finally, if we can potentiate the respiratory reflexes that re-establish the airway in OSA, without triggering the other components of arousals, we may be able to minimize or prevent the apneas. While current methods for treating OSA (e.g., CPAP and dental appliances) help many people, many others cannot tolerate these devices, and we require additional modes of therapy to mitigate the consequences of OSA.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The methods are currently available to address the questions that are raised above. The revolution in methods for evaluating the functions of neural circuits, using optogenetics and chemogenetics, for example, should allow us to identify brain circuits that are involved in the various components of the reflex responses to apnea. We can examine their neurotransmitters and receptors, and design new therapies based on manipulating CNS circuitry. Methods for assessing ongoing autonomic, respiratory, and metabolic responses in genetically mutated mouse modesl may require further miniaturization of various physiological methods, but this field is also rapidly advancing. Finally, methods for examining ongoing changes in neuronal activity in the living brain of awake mice are rapidly advancing.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Clifford B Saper, MD, PhD

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

ELUCIDATING BASIC MECHANISMS OF SLEEP DEFICIENCY AND CIRCADIAN DISRUPTION ON HEALTH THROUGH THE LIFESPAN

There are developing data from clinical studies that sleep deficiency and circadian disruption have multiple adverse consequences for health. The clinical data provide the base for mechanistic studies. Studies in animal models indicate that both circadian disruption and insufficient sleep later gene expression in peripheral tissues. Moreover, the effect of sleep loss in molecular changes in brain changes with age. ...more »

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

There is no doubt that insufficient sleep and circadian disruption are very common in our society. There are also compelling epidemiological data that they are associated with multiple adverse consequences, including increased cardiovascular disease, increase in metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance and for shift work an increased incidence of specific concern. Animal studies based on microarrays are showing that inadequate sleep and circadian rhythm alter gene expression not only in brain but also in peripheral tissues. These studies are hypothesis-generating and there are many opportunities for hypothesis-driven research in this area to assess mechanisms. Identifying mechanisms will allow investigators to begin to assess mechanisms of individual differences and to identify new pathways for intervention.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Sleep and circadian research is in a very strong position. Sleep and clock function has now been identified in all the major model systems—C. elegans, Aphysia, Drosophila, zebra-fish, mice, etc. Thus, there is a strong platform to assess conserved pathways for effect of sleep loss and circadian disruption. Moreover, microarray studies have identified likely pathways thereby setting up hypothesis-driven research. There are major opportunities in this area.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

DESIGN AND EVALUATE INTERVENTION STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE SLEEP HEALTH AND CIRCADIAN DISRUPTION

Data indicate the association between short sleep and circadian disruption on a number of adverse outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, hypertension, etc. There is a need to move beyond association to interventions that can be shown to improve sleep duration and circadian disruption.

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

As described, we need to move beyond association to intervention. We have developing mobile technologies to assess outcomes in subjects living in their normal circumstances. The issue is what interventions can be applied and be shown to work to address both sleep length and circadian timing of sleep. There is a need to stimulate research to assess different potential interventions to see which are the most effective.

 

The impact of this will be invaluable. We should be able to improve sleep and circadian health in the US population and thereby modifying this risk factor for development of chronic diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

We have the relevant tools to do this. There are millions of Americans with short sleep and millions of Americans who have misplaced sleep in relation to their normal circadian rhythms. Thus, there is no shortage of subjects to recruit for this type of research. There is now a developing body of knowledge about techniques that can be applied to modifying behavior in other areas—weight loss, stopping smoking, etc. These techniques could be the basis of new interventions to improve sleep health.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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