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Hochschulmedizin Zürich SleepLoop

Project Details

The aim of this HMZ flagship project is to develop and validate a mobile point-of-care sleep modulation technology and to apply it to various neurological, mental and systemic diseases. Sleep offers largely unexplored possibilities for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches.

By means of precisely timed acoustic signals, it is possible to either amplify or reduce the amplitude of the brain slow waves during deep sleep, depending on when the acoustic stimulation occurs. We develop this novel technology to make it usable in home setting and validate its efficacy in healthy individuals and patients. Our five work packages cover the following research areas:

  1. We develop the necessary portable technologies and methods to enable the transfer from the laboratory to the home environment and explore the parameters needed for personalized and efficient deep sleep stimulation. Personalized closed-loop stimulations based on sleep behavior, motor skills and vigilance will be included in the development of the portable system (Ecosystem Development).
  2. We use our technology to map the brain's network. This so-called "sleep connectivity" is then tested as a potential diagnostic and prognostic marker in a clinical setting (Connectivity).
  3. We investigate how non-pharmacologically enhanced deep sleep affects decision behavior in healthy subjects with chronic sleep restriction. We will also determine whether our technology can be beneficial for Parkinson's patients and children with severe traumatic brain injuries (Enhancement).
  4. On the other side, we will investigate whether reducing deep sleep can improve symptoms in patients with epilepsy or depression (Deprivation).
  5. We will also examine whether deep sleep modulation can affect immunological, metabolic and endocrine diseases, as recent studies strongly suggested a relationship between these diseases and (disturbed) sleep (Periphery).