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New way to analyze sleep disorders
Date:4/15/2009

inary approaches to various problems in neuroscience -- including sleep disorders.

Monitoring the heartbeat provides information about breathing because the two physiological processes are weakly coupled. During inhalation, the heart beats faster. During exhalation, the heart slows down. These effects are seen during sleep as well. Moreover, the heart rate and breathing rate also change across certain stages of sleep. They are faster and fluctuate more during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than they do during deep sleep, for instance.

In their new study, the Israeli and German scientists showed that the synchronization between the heartbeat and breathing pattern is significantly enhanced during certain stages of sleep. By mathematically analyzing someone's heart rate throughout the night, they could gain information on that person's breathing and sleep stage.

They looked at data from the European project SIESTA, which keeps a database of sleep data recorded in seven countries from 295 people -- about half of whom have sleep disorders. Subjects of this study spent two nights in sleep laboratories, slumbering while electrodes connected to their heads and torsos monitored things like brain and muscle activity, heart rate, and eye movement. This collection of physiological data is what normally enables doctors to reconstruct the phases of sleep and diagnose sleep disorders.

The Israeli and German scientists analyzed just the heart data for the 150 people in the SIESTA study who have no known sleep disorders. They then used the heartbeats to reconstruct the breathing patterns, and they showed that these reconstructions accurately reflect the actual recorded breathing data collected in sleep labs. Moreover, looking at the synchronization between heartbeat and breathing, the group could show that there is a significant relationship between sleep stages and cardio-respiratory synchronization patterns, i.e., heartbeat and breathing mostly
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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