EEG Biomarkers of Circadian Health

(left to right) Wessel Woldman, Clare
Anderson, Sophie Mason, Andrew Bagshaw

Principal Investigator: Clare Anderson

Co-Investigators: Andrew Bagshaw & Wessel Woldman

Centre Fellow: Sophie Mason

Artist: Ian Andrews

The circadian system is an internal clock in the brain, which regulates the timing of many bodily processes on a 24-hour cycle, such as sleep and wake. Circadian disruption occurs when the signal from the clock is mismatched to the environment, such as trying to sleep when the clock is signalling wake (e.g., jetlag). These disruptions can occur across a range of disorders, including epilepsy, dementia, and depression. Importantly, circadian disruption is thought to increase risk or severity of these brain-related disorders.

Electroencepholography, or EEG, is a measure of electrical signalling in the brain, and provides a window into communication within the brain (“brain networks”). The extent to which brain networks are organised by the circadian system however is largely unknown. This reduces our ability to understand the role of the circadian system in the organisation of brain networks in the context of disease.

This project will use EEG to examine changes in brain networks in healthy individuals with respect to circadian timing and strength, and how disruption impacts these rhythms. This will provide an urgently needed benchmark to model the influence of the circadian system on the brain in patients with epilepsy, depression, dementia and other brain-related diseases.

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