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Chronobiol Int. 2006;23(1-2):485-95.

The suitability of actigraphy, diary data, and urinary melatonin profiles for quantitative assessment of sleep disturbances in schizophrenia: a case report.

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Department of Visual Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK.


Sleep disruption is a commonly encountered clinical feature in schizophrenic patients, and one important concern is to determine the extent of this disruption under "real" life situations. Simultaneous wrist actigraphy, diary records, and repeated urine collection for urinary 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) profiles are appropriate tools to assess circadian rhythms and sleep patterns in field studies. Their suitability for long-term recordings of schizophrenic patients living in the community has not been evaluated. In this case report, we document long-term simultaneous wrist actigraphy, light detection, repeated urine collection, and diary records as a suitable combination of non-invasive techniques to quantify and assess changes in sleep-wake cycles, light exposure, and melatonin profiles in a schizophrenic patient. The actigraph was well-tolerated by the patient, and compliance to diary records and 48 h urine collection was particularly good with assistance from family members. The data obtained by these techniques are illustrated, and the results reveal remarkable abnormal patterns of rest-activity patterns, light exposure, and melatonin production. We observed various rest-activity patterns, including phase-shifts, highly delayed sleep on- and offsets, and irregular rest-activity phases. The period of the rest-activity rhythm, light-dark cycle, and melatonin rhythm was longer than 24 h. These circadian abnormalities may reinforce the altered sleep patterns and the problems of cognitive function and social engagement associated with schizophrenic.

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