Is disrupted sleep a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease? Evidence from a two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis

Emma L Anderson*, Rebecca C Richmond, Samuel E Jones, Gibran Hemani, Kaitlin H Wade, Hassan S Dashti, Jacqueline M Lane, Heming Wang, Richa Saxena, Ben Brumpton, Roxanna Korologou-Linden, Jonas B Nielsen, Bjørn Olav Åsvold, Gonçalo Abecasis, Elizabeth Coulthard, Simon D Kyle, Robin N Beaumont, Jessica Tyrrell, Timothy M Frayling, Marcus R MunafòAndrew R Wood, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Laura D Howe, Deborah A Lawlor, Michael N Weedon, George Davey Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: It is established that Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients experience sleep disruption. However, it remains unknown whether disruption in the quantity, quality or timing of sleep is a risk factor for the onset of AD.

METHODS: We used the largest published genome-wide association studies of self-reported and accelerometer-measured sleep traits (chronotype, duration, fragmentation, insomnia, daytime napping and daytime sleepiness), and AD. Mendelian randomization (MR) was used to estimate the causal effect of self-reported and accelerometer-measured sleep parameters on AD risk.

RESULTS: Overall, there was little evidence to support a causal effect of sleep traits on AD risk. There was some suggestive evidence that self-reported daytime napping was associated with lower AD risk [odds ratio (OR): 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50-0.99). Some other sleep traits (accelerometer-measured 'eveningness' and sleep duration, and self-reported daytime sleepiness) had ORs of a similar magnitude to daytime napping, but were less precisely estimated.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we found very limited evidence to support a causal effect of sleep traits on AD risk. Our findings provide tentative evidence that daytime napping may reduce AD risk. Given that this is the first MR study of multiple self-report and objective sleep traits on AD risk, findings should be replicated using independent samples when such data become available.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdyaa183
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Volume(2020)
Early online date5 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.

Keywords

  • sleep
  • Alzheiner's disease
  • dementia
  • Mendelian randomization
  • causal inference

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