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Biol Signals Recept. 1999 Jan-Apr;8(1-2):90-5.

Melatonin in circadian sleep disorders in the blind.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.


Assessment of sleep patterns in blind people demonstrates a high prevalence of sleep disorders. Our studies have shown that subjects with no conscious light perception (NPL) have a higher occurrence and more severe sleep disorders than those with some degree of light perception (LP). A detailed study of 49 blind individuals showed that those with NPL are likely to have free-running (FR) circadian rhythms (aMT6s, cortisol) including sleep. Non-24-hour (or FR) sleep-wake disorder, characterised by periods of good and bad sleep is a condition that may benefit from melatonin treatment. Melatonin has been administered to NPL subjects with FR circadian rhythms and compared with placebo (or the no-treatment baseline) sleep parameters improved. The results suggest that prior knowledge of the subject's type of circadian rhythm, and timing of treatment in relation to the individual's circadian phase, may improve the efficacy of melatonin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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