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Transcranial Impedance Changes during Sleep: a Rheoencephalography Study

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Transcranial Impedance Changes during Sleep: a Rheoencephalography Study


Objective: To demonstrate the utility of rheoencephalography (REG) for measuring cerebral blood flow and fluid dynamics during different stages of sleep. Methods: Anteroposterior cranial electrical impedance was measured with concurrent polysomnography in a group of healthy subjects during sleep. Transcranial electrical impedance was characterized by measuring the peak-to-trough and envelope of the filtered pulsative REG signal as well as its frequency. The sensitivity of the REG amplitude to changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) was confirmed by the analysis of the signal during breathing maneuvers with known effects on CBF. The mean amplitude and variability of the REG characteristic parameters were averaged across all participants and were compared between different stages of sleep. Results: Average transcranial impedance was significantly lower during non-REM stages N1 and N2, compared to other sleep stages, suggesting a decrease in CBF volume. Stage N3 showed the slowest frequency indicating a slow heart rate during this stage. N3 also had the lowest variability in frequency and peak-to-trough amplitude. Conclusion: Measurement of transcranial electrical conductivity may be a viable non-invasive method for monitoring any potential changes in intracranial fluid homeostasis. Clinical Impact: In the absence of other convenient non-invasive methods, using REG to track intracranial fluid dynamics during sleep can facilitate an improved understanding of pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease.

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