Geriatric Sleep Research Program

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Sleep and Fall Risk in Institutionalized Patients with Dementia


Care of elderly adults with dementia has an estimated direct cost of $20.7 billion per year in 1991 dollars. While dementia manifests in many ways, nocturnal sleep disruption in dementia in particular contributes to the morbidity and cost of caring for these patients. Few studies to date have addressed the nature and etiology of the profound changes that occur in the sleep patterns of institutionalized dementia patients. Indeed, there are no comprehensive analysis of the factors, from the patient or the environmental, that engender these debilitating changes. In this study, we plan to:

Aim 1: Identify and determine the role of patient and environmental factors on the sleep/wake disruption in institutionalized patients with mild-moderate dementia, with particular focus on light, co-morbid medical conditions, and psychopathology.

Aim 2: Determine the impact of these factors on the intrinsic circadian rhythm amplitude of melatonin in patients with mild-moderate dementia and correlate it with the objective assessments of sleep/wake parameters.

Aim 3: Examine the relationship of nocturnal sleep disruption to risk of falling.

Funding Agency

Academic Long Term Care Network/Institute on Aging University of Pennsylvania

Participating Staff

Nalaka Gooneratne, Principal Investigator
Liz Roben, research assistant
Ken Fomberstein, research assistant
Sumedha Chhatre, biostatistician