Chronic insomnia and MRI-measured hippocampal volumes: a pilot study.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Freiburg University Medical Center, Hauptstr. 5, D-79104 Germany.
Sleep (Impact Factor: 5.06). 09/2007; 30(8):955-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Morphometric analysis of magnetic resonance imaging brain scans was used to investigate possible neuroanatomic differences between patients with primary insomnia compared to good sleepers.
MRI images (1.5 Tesla) of the brain were obtained from insomnia patients and good sleepers. MRI scans were analyzed bilaterally by manual morphometry for different brain areas including hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate, orbitofron-tal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
University Hospital Sleep Center and Radiology Department
8 unmedicated physician-referred patients with chronic primary insomnia (3 males, 5 females; 48.4 + 16.3 years) and 8 good sleepers matched for age, sex, body mass index, and education.
Patients with primary insomnia demonstrated significantly reduced hippocampal volumes bilaterally compared to the good sleepers. None of the other regions of interest analyzed revealed differences between the 2 groups.
These pilot data raise the possibility that chronic insomnia is associated with alterations in brain structure. Replication of the findings in larger samples is needed to confirm the validity of the data. The integration of structural, neuropsychological, neuroendocrine and polysomnographic studies is necessary to further assess the relationships between insomnia and brain function and structure.

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May 21, 2014