Sleep in Huntington's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of polysomongraphic findings

Sleep. 2019 Oct 9;42(10):zsz154. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz154.


Study objectives: Disturbed overnight sleep is a prominent feature of advanced stage Huntington's disease (HD). Several polysomnography (PSG) studies have reported significant changes of sleep in HD patients, but the findings are not unequivocal. To date, no meta-analysis has investigated the PSG changes in HD patients. The present study meta-analyzed results from studies examining the PSG changes in HD patients compared with controls.

Methods: A literature search performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, All EBM databases, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases identified seven studies involving 152 HD patients and 144 controls which were included in our meta-analysis.

Results: Pooled results indicated decreased sleep efficiency, percentage of slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, and increased percentage of N1 sleep, wake time after sleep onset, and rapid eye movement sleep latency in HD patients compared with controls. We found high heterogeneity in the effect sizes and no indication of systematic publication biases across studies. Meta-regression analyses showed that some of the heterogeneity was explained by age, body mass index (BMI), CAG repeat length, and disease severity of HD patients.

Conclusions: Our study showed that polysomnographic abnormalities are present in HD. Our findings also underscore the need for a comprehensive PSG assessment of sleep changes in patients with HD. Furthermore, the effects of age, BMI and CAG repeat length on sleep changes should be carefully considered and closely monitored in the management of HD.

Keywords: Huntington’s disease; meta-analysis; polysomongraphy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Huntington Disease / epidemiology
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Latency / physiology
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology