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Neurobiol Aging. 2008 Aug;29(8):1265-71. Epub 2007 Mar 21.

Distortions in rest-activity rhythm in aging relate to white matter hyperintensities.

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Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Distortions in the rest-activity rhythm in aging are commonly observed. Neurodegenerative changes of the suprachiasmatic nucleus have been proposed to underlie this disrupted rhythm. However, based on previous studies, it can be proposed that white matter hyperintensities (WMH) may also play a role in the altered rest-activity rhythm in aging. The present study focused on the rest-activity rhythm, as assessed with actigraphy, and WMH in nondemented aging. With regard to the rest-activity rhythm, the interdaily stability (IS), intradaily variability (IV) and the amplitude (AMP) of the rhythm were of interest. The white matter hyperintensities were examined separately for the periventricular (PVH) and deep white matter (DWMH) regions, while distinguishing between the various locations within these regions (e.g. occipital PVH). The results indicated that frontal DWMH related to both IS and AMP. A reduction in the most active 10-h period mediated the relationship between frontal DWMH and AMP. Possible underlying mechanisms of these associations are discussed.

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