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Sleep. 2020 Jan 23. pii: zsaa006. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsaa006. [Epub ahead of print]

Alterations in sleep EEG synchrony in combat-exposed veterans with PTSD.

Author information

1
Department of Defense Biotechnology High Performance Computing Software Applications Institute, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, United States Army Medical Research and Development Command, USA.
2
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

We assessed whether the synchrony between brain regions, analyzed using electroencephalography (EEG) signals recorded during sleep, is altered in subjects with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and whether the results are reproducible across consecutive nights and subpopulations of the study.

METHODS:

Seventy-eight combat-exposed veteran men with (n = 31) and without (n = 47) PTSD completed two consecutive laboratory nights of high-density EEG recordings. We computed a measure of synchrony for each EEG channel-pair across three sleep stages [rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM stages 2 and 3] and six frequency bands. We examined the median synchrony in nine region-of-interest (ROI) pairs consisting of six bilateral brain regions (left and right frontal, central, and parietal regions) for ten frequency-band and sleep-stage combinations. To assess reproducibility, we used the first 47 consecutive subjects (18 with PTSD) for initial discovery and the remaining 31 subjects (13 with PTSD) for replication.

RESULTS:

In the discovery analysis, five alpha-band synchrony pairs during non-REM sleep were consistently larger in PTSD subjects compared to controls (effect sizes ranging from 0.52 to 1.44) across consecutive nights: two between the left-frontal and left-parietal ROIs, one between the left-central and left-parietal ROIs, and two across central and parietal bilateral ROIs. These trends were preserved in the replication set.

CONCLUSION:

PTSD subjects showed increased alpha-band synchrony during non-REM sleep in the left fronto-parietal, left centro-parietal, and inter-parietal brain regions. Importantly, these trends were reproducible across consecutive nights and subpopulations. Thus, these alterations in alpha synchrony may be discriminatory of PTSD.

KEYWORDS:

phase synchronization; post-traumatic stress disorder; reproducibility of results; sleep electroencephalography

PMID:
31971594
DOI:
10.1093/sleep/zsaa006

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