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The relationship between cognitive function, Alzheimer's disease and sleep duration: A Mendelian randomisation study

By Antoine Salzmann, Nishi Chaturvedi, Victoria Garfield

Posted 10 Sep 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.08.20190611

Objective: Sleep duration is associated with cognitive function and dementia. MR evidence to date, points towards a causal relationship in this direction. However, whether cognitive function or dementia may also cause problematic sleep duration remains unclear. Methods: We conducted summary-level Mendelian Randomisation (MR) analyses to estimate the causal association between general cognitive function, 'g' (177 SNPs), reaction time (44 SNPs), Alzheimer's disease (AD) (29 SNPs), and self-reported and objective sleep duration. Sensitivity analyses included: MR-Egger, Weighted median estimator and leave-one-out analyses. We used data from recently published cognitive function, AD and sleep duration genome wide association studies. Results: MR results showed that AD was associated with longer, (Beta=0.14, 95% CI=0.04;0.24), whilst 'g', and reaction time were associated with shorter (Beta=-0.06, 95% CI=-0.11;-0.01 and Beta=-0.15, 95% CI=-0.29;-0.01, respectively), objective sleep duration. No association was observed between our exposures and self-reported sleep duration. Interpretation: These results suggest a causative relationship between AD, 'g', reaction time and objective sleep duration, where AD is associated with longer sleep duration and 'g' and reaction time are associated with shorter sleep. This study furthers our understanding of the relationship between brain health and sleep duration and sheds light on the causal nature of these associations.

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