Circadian Sleep-Wake Activity Patterns During Aging
Aging is associated with altered circadian activity rhythms, the intrinsic physiologic cycles of approximately 24 h that are critically involved in control of sleep-wake cycles and numerous physiological processes. Measurement of 24-h patterns of activity is relatively simple and cost-effective using actigraphy. There is growing evidence that older adults with disrupted 24-h activity patterns (weak, more fragmented, and shifted circadian activity rhythms) have higher risk for a variety of age-related outcomes including earlier mortality, risk of cognitive impairment or risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety, and mortality risk. Further study is needed to establish mechanisms for these associations. In addition, future studies will be needed to test whether interventions (e.g. physical activity, bright light exposure, cataract surgery) that regulate circadian activity rhythms will improve health outcomes in the elderly.
KeywordsCircadian activity rhythms Aging Epidemiology Actigraphy
Supported by NIA: AG026720, AG05407, AR35582, AG05394, AR35584, AR35583, AR46238, AG027576-22, AG005394-22A1, AG027574-22A1, AG030474, and NHLBI: HL071194, HL070848, HL070847, HL070842, HL070841, HL070837, HL070838, HL070839.
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