20 Nov Spectral Fingerprint of Sleep Problems in People with PTSD.
When performing polysomnography tests, there are specific electrode placements to show specific brain wave activity as certain regions show certain brain waves (eg: over the occipital lobe to show alpha waves which can show when the patient is awake). There are also specific waves to demonstrate certain sleep disturbances in patients. A recent study has looked at this connection, specifically in patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A recent study performed by de Boer et al. assessed EEG power across a wide frequency range and multiple scalp locations in those diagnosed with PTSD and those who have not been. The purpose of the study was to see whether certain areas are more active in either group (PTSD vs not) and in particular regions.
Results showed that NREM sleep in PTSD patients showed a substantial loss of slow oscillation power and increased higher frequency activity when compared to those without PTSD. This change occurs over the right-frontal sensors and correlates with insomnia. Furthermore, in REM sleep for PTSD patients, there was an increased slow oscillation power over occipital areas compared to patients without PTSD, this heightened activity is strongly related to nightmare activity.
This specific study is the first to show the pronounced changes in EEG activity during both NREM and REM sleep in patients both with and without PTSD. Furthermore, it has highlighted certain areas are more representative of different sleep disturbances affecting the population. This information distinguishes PTSD patients from others with high effect size and can potentially be used as a candidate biomarker for future research.