Interaction of Sleep and Cortical Structural Maintenance From an Individual Person Microlongitudinal Perspective and Implications for Precision Medicine Research

Front Neurosci. 2020 Jul 31;14:769. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00769. eCollection 2020.


Sleep and maintenance of brain structure are essential for the continuity of a person's cognitive/mental health. Interestingly, whether normal structural maintenance of the brain and sleep continuously interact in some way over day-week-month times has never been assessed at an individual-person level. This study used unconventional microlongitudinal sampling, structural magnetic resonance imaging, and n-of-1 analyses to assess normal interactions between fluctuations in the structural maintenance of cerebral cortical thickness and sleep duration for day, week, and multi-week intervals over a 6-month period in a healthy adult man. Correlation and time series analyses provided indications of "if-then," i.e., "if" this preceded "then" this followed, sleep-to-thickness maintenance and thickness maintenance-to-sleep bidirectional inverse interactions. Inverse interaction patterns were characterized by concepts of graded influences across nights, bilaterally positive relationships, continuity across successive weeks, and longer delayed/prolonged effects in the thickness maintenance-to-sleep than sleep-to-thickness maintenance direction. These interactions are proposed to involve normal circadian/allostatic/homeostatic mechanisms that continuously influence, and are influenced by, cortical substrate remodeling/turnover and sleep/wake cycle. Understanding interactions of individual person "-omics" is becoming a central interest in precision medicine research. The present n-of-1 findings contribute to this interest and have implications for precision medicine research use of a person's cortical structural and sleep "-omics" to optimize the continuous maintenance of that individual's cortical structure, sleep, and cognitive/mental health.

Keywords: circadian/allostatic/homeostatic; glymphatic; human brain maintenance; n-of-1 analyses; precision medicine research; sleep; synaptic homeostasis.