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Tone-induced sleep fragmentation in persons with Alzheimer's disease: a feasibility study.

Cole CS, Richards KC, Smith-Olinde L, Roberson PK, Sullivan DH. Tone-induced sleep fragmentation in persons with Alzheimer's disease: a feasibility study. Biological Research For Nursing. 2010 Jan 1; 11(3):229-35.

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Sleep fragmentation increases as Alzheimer's disease (AD) progresses. Its effects on cognition, specifically vigilant attention, are profoundly important because vigilant attention is thought to be the first step in memory acquisition. To our knowledge, no one has experimentally studied the effect of sleep fragmentation on vigilant attention in persons with AD. Therefore, this study piloted an experimental method using sound (tones produced by an audiometer) to induce sleep fragmentation. Participants enrolled in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Memory Research Center ([MRC] n = 4) underwent one night of undisturbed and one of fragmented sleep. All participants tolerated the earphone needed for the tone-induced sleep fragmentation (TISF) method, and we were able to score awakenings in real time. However, only 50% of tones produced awakenings. The findings suggest that this experimental method is feasible for use in persons with mild AD. Based on the results, we will increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of tones delivered for optimal result.

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