Sleep, sleep spindles, and cognitive functions in drug-naive patients with first-episode psychosis

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Yazihan N., Yetkin S.

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL SLEEP MEDICINE, vol.16, no.12, pp.2079-2087, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.5664/jcsm.8776
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.2079-2087
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: No


Study Objectives: Various lines of clinical findings have suggested abnormalities in macro- or microstructural parameters of sleep in patients with schizophrenia. Meanwhile findings are inconclusive due to some confounding factors, such as the heterogeneity of the disorder, drug regimen, and duration of the illness. There are a few studies in the literature that have been conducted on drug-free patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP). Based on this knowledge, we aimed to explore sleep characteristics, sleep spindles, and neuropsychological profiles of the drug-naive patients with FEP. Methods: The study sample consisted of 21 drug-naive patients with FEP and 21 healthy participants. Polysomnography recordings were conducted for 2 subsequent nights. A neuropsychological test battery was administered for assessing cognitive functions. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale was applied to measure symptom severity of the patients. Spindle detection was performed visually. Results: According to the results of the study, the patient group's percentage of stage N2 sleep and sleep efficiency index was lower than in the control group. Among sleep spindle parameters, spindle density was found to be reduced in the patient group. The results of neuropsychological tests measuring executive functions, learning, and memory support the idea that there is a global cognitive deterioration from the early course of the disorder. In the psychotic group, negative symptoms were negatively correlated with verbal memory, learning, verbal fluency, and semantic organization. We found that the percentage of stage N3 sleep decreased while negative symptom severity increased. In addition, the percentage of stage N1 sleep increased as negative symptom severity increased. Reduction in stage N3 sleep was associated with an impairment in learning, verbal fluency, and response inhibition. The sleep spindle density and cognitive functions did not show any associations. Conclusions: Taken together, these findings suggest that patients with FEP show global cognitive impairment (except for attention and processing speed), which is associated with changes in sleep architecture and higher score in a scale assessing negative symptoms. We conclude that cognitive function and spindle parameters differ nonlinearly among patients with FEP.