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Research Projects

The UW-CRMSD has four research projects.

Project 1: Sleep Duration and Metabolism in Twins

Nathaniel WatsonNathaniel Watson

Nathaniel Watson, MD; Principal Investigator

Obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation appear to be associated with habitual sleep curtailment, but the physiologic mechanisms and genetic factors underlying the link are unclear. Using the population based University of Washington Twin Registry we are using a co-twin control research design to assess the relationship between sleep duration and metabolism/inflammation. This study design adjusts for familial factors (e.g., genetics, shared environment) allowing subtle environmental influences to be detected, such as the influence of habitual sleep restriction on human physiology.

Specific Aims:

  1. Examine the relationship between sleep duration and appetite-regulating hormones, abdominal adioposity, insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, blood pressure, and quantitative 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 gene expression in sleep restricted individuals.
  2. Examine the relationship between sleep duration and systemic measures of inflammation.

 

    Project 2: Sleep Disturbances in Older Adults with Head Injury: Circadian Rhythm and Health Outcomes

    Hilaire ThompsonHilaire Thompson

    Hilaire Thompson, PhD, RN, BC, ACNP, CNRN, FAAN; Principal Investigator

    Sleep disturbances following traumatic brain injury (TBI) are common and may exacerbate symptoms and worsen daytime functioning. Research is needed to elucidate the associations among sleep disturbances, cognition, and functioning in older adults with TBI that can be the basis for targeted interventions to improve their health status. Sleep disturbances and associated functional changes may be due, in part, to alterations in circadian rhythm genes following injury. We propose a model for worsened health outcomes following mild TBI in older adults that is related to the synergy of sleep and other symptoms resulting from the brain injury itself which may be synergistic.

    Specific Aims:

    1. Compare daytime consequences (e.g. wake disturbance, fatigue and other symptoms) between those with and without sleep disturbance.
    2. Compare health outcomes (e.g. functional status examination (FSE), Life-Space Assessment, and activities of daily living [ADL]) between those with and without sleep disturbance.
    3. Explore differences between circadian gene expression patterns in those with and without sleep disturbance.

     

      Project 3: Shared Yoga Practice for Osteoarthritis-related Insomnia in Middle-aged and Older Adults

      Diana TaibiDiana Taibi

      Diana Taibi, PhD, RN; Principal Investigator

      The proposed study involves delivery of a yoga intervention for insomnia to participants with osteoarthritis (OA) of the back, hip, or knee. This study is the first to test a novel Shared Yoga Practice intervention. In contrast to typical yoga studies that implement interventions with individual participants, the proposed intervention is specifically tailored to incorporate social support, which is particularly important for older adults in promoting adoption of and adherence to physical practice interventions such as yoga. The Shared Yoga Practice involves gentle movement, stretching, breathing, and strengthening exercises aimed to improve sleep by reducing stiffness and pain and promoting relaxation. Practice partners live in the same residence as participants and both attend weekly 75-minute classes and perform the 15-minute nightly home yoga practice with the participants.

      Specific Aims:

      1. To test the acceptability of a Shared Yoga Practice for middle-aged to older persons with insomnia related to OA.
      2. To test the feasibility of implementing a Shared Yoga Practice for middle aged to older persons related to OA as well as collecting electronic data from the sample.
      3. To conduct preliminary efficacy testing of the Shared Yoga Practice via a small-scale randomized controlled trial.

       

        Project 4: Chronic Illness and Its Impact on Sleep, Disease-Related Symptoms and Health Outcomes in Young Children and Their Parents

        Teresa WardTeresa Ward

        Teresa Ward, PhD, RN; Principal Investigator

        The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding about sleep and the impact of sleep disturbances in 2-5 year-old children recently diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and their parents, and in aged-matched typically developing children and their parents, and examine how child and parental sleep interrelate. Information from this study is important as it may provide a better understanding about some of the mechanisms that may underlie sleep disturbances and disease-related symptoms, as well as provide information to design interventions to improve sleep in parents of children with chronic illness and their child.

        Specific Aims:

        1. Determine the feasibility and acceptability of laboratory-based polysomnography (PSG) and home-based actigraphy in 2-5 year-old children recently diagnosed with JRA and in age-matched typically developing control children.
        2. Secondary aims;
          1. Examine sleep disturbances in 2- 5 year-olds with JRA to typically developing aged-matched control children.
          2. Examine the synchrony between parent and child sleep in 2-5 year-olds recently diagnosed with JRA to aged-matched typically developing control children.