Trial Search Results

Sleep Disturbance and Emotion Regulation Brain Dysfunction as Mechanisms of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer's Dementia

Recent findings suggest that sleep disruption may contribute to the generation and maintenance of neuropsychiatric symptoms including anxiety, depression, agitation, irritation, and apathy while treating sleep disruption reduces these symptoms. Impairments in the neural systems that support emotion regulation may represent one causal mechanism mediating the relationship between sleep and emotional distress. However, this model has not yet been formally tested within a sample of individuals with or at risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

This proposal aims to test a mechanistic model in which sleep disturbance contributes to neuropsychiatric symptoms through impairments in fronto-limbic emotion regulation function in a sample of individuals at risk for developing, or at an early stage of AD.

This study seeks to delineate the causal association between sleep disruption, fronto-limbic emotion regulation brain function, and neuropsychiatric symptoms. These aims will be achieved through a mechanistic, randomized 2-arm controlled trial design. 150 adults experiencing sleep disturbances and who also have cognitive impairment with the presence of at least mild neuropsychiatric symptoms will be randomized to receive either a sleep manipulation (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia CBT-I; n=75) or an active control (n=75). CBT-I improves sleep patterns through a combination of sleep restriction, stimulus control, mindfulness training, cognitive therapy targeting dysfunctional beliefs about sleep, and sleep hygiene education. Neuropsychiatric symptoms, fronto-limbic functioning, and sleep disruption will be assessed at baseline and at the end of the sleep manipulation through functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), clinical interviews, PSG recordings, and self-report questionnaires. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (anxiety and depression) and sleep disturbance (actigraphy, Insomnia Severity Index, and sleep diaries) will be assayed at baseline and each week throughout the sleep manipulation to assess week-to-week changes following an increasing number of CBT-I sessions. Wristwatch actigraphy will be acquired from baseline to the end of the sleep manipulation at week 11. Neuropsychiatric symptoms and sleep will be assessed again at six months post-manipulation.

Stanford is currently accepting patients for this trial.

Lead Sponsor:

Stanford University

Collaborator: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Stanford Investigator(s):


  • Behavioral: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
  • Behavioral: Desensitization Therapy for insomnia (DT-I)




Inclusion Criteria:

   - Males and females of any racial or ethnic group, aged 50-90 (inclusive)

   - Diagnosis of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI; single or multi domain) or mild

   - Subjective complaint of insomnia associated with daytime impairment or distress (ISI ≥

   - Subjective complaint of sleep disturbance ≥ 3 months in duration

   - Subjective complaint of Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPI total score ≥ 4)

   - Able to verbalize understanding of involvement in the research and provide written
   informed consent or provide assent co-signed by a LAR

   - Fluent and literate in English

   - Written, informed consent

   - Medications (including any dementia-related meds) stable for at least 4 weeks prior to
   study baseline

   - Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised Logical Memory II subtest using the following rubric: ≤
   8 for subjects with 16 or more years of education, ≤ 4 for 8-15 years of education, 2
   ≤ for 0-7 years of education

   - Research diagnosis of memory impairment based on the following:

   - Global Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) of 0.5 or 1.0.

   - Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised Logical Memory II subtest using the following rubric: <
   11 for subjects with 16 or more years of education, ≤ 9 for 8-15 years of education, ≤
   6 for 0-7 years of education

   - MRI safety screen passed

   - Have a caregiver or study partner willing to aid in facilitating the protocol and

   - Reside within approximately 50 miles of Stanford University

Exclusion Criteria:

   - less than 20 on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)

   - Acute or unstable chronic illness: including but not limited to: uncontrolled thyroid
   disease, kidney, prostate or bladder conditions causing excessively frequent urination
   (> 3 times per night); medically unstable congestive heart failure, angina, other
   severe cardiac illness as defined by treatment regimen changes in the prior 3 months;
   stroke with serious sequelae; cancer if < 1 year since end of treatment; asthma,
   emphysema, or other severe respiratory diseases uncontrolled with medications; and
   neurological disorders (with the exception of mild AD) such as Parkinson's disease and
   unstable epilepsy as defined by treatment regimen changes in the prior 3 months;
   unstable adult onset diabetes as defined by treatment regimen changes in the prior 3

   - Use of medication specifically prescribed for sleep disturbance and unwilling or
   unable to discontinue > one week prior to baseline data collection.

   - Current or lifetime history of bipolar disorder

   - History of psychosis preceding onset of memory impairments

   - Substance abuse or dependence

   - Excessive alcohol consumption (>14 drinks per week or > 4 drinks per occasion)

   - Current exposure to trauma, or exposure to trauma within the past 3 months

   - Presence of suicidal ideations representing high risk as measured by the
   Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). Individuals are considered high risk
   if they have endorsement of either of the following:

      1. A positive endorsement, relative to the past 30 days, in the "Suicide Thoughts"
      section of item #4 (Have you had these thoughts and had some intention of acting
      on them) or item #5 (Have you started to work out or worked out the details of
      how to kill yourself? Do you intend to carry out this plan?

      2. A positive endorsement, relative to the past 90 days, in the "Suicide Behavior"
      section of item #6 (Have you ever done anything, started to do anything, or
      prepared to do anything to end your life?)

   - Mild traumatic brain injury (history of physical brain injury or blow to the head
   resulting in loss of consciousness >5 minutes)

   - Severe impediment to vision, hearing and/or hand movement, likely to interfere with
   the ability to complete the assessments, or are unable and/or unlikely to follow the
   study protocols

   - Current or expected cognitive behavioral therapy for another condition (e.g.

   - History of falling and/or severe mobility impairment

   - Individuals who are not CPAP adherent or have untreated OSA of moderate severity or
   worse (AHI ≥ 15)

   - Received Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) or Desensitization Therapy
   for Insomnia (DTI) within the past year

Ages Eligible for Study

50 Years - 90 Years

Genders Eligible for Study


Now accepting new patients

Contact Information

Stanford University
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Not Recruiting