The goal of this HMZ flagship project is to develop and validate a point-of-care sleep modulation technology and apply it clinically to various neurological, mental and peripheral disorders. Sleep offers vastly unexplored opportunities for diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches.
We aim to solve five major challenges:
Challenge 1: Ecosystem Development
We will develop the required wearable technology and methodologies to enable the translation of EEG monitoring from the lab to the home environment and explore the necessary parameters for personalized and efficient stimulation of slow wave sleep, as required in the subsequent challenges. The developed ecosystem will enable personalized and targeted stimulations with integrated and adaptive outcome measurements.
Challenge 2: Connectivity
We will establish SleepLoop as a tool to assess brain connectivity in healthy and patient populations. The resulting “sleep connectome” might serve as diagnostic and prognostic markers and provide information about individual deficits to be compensated in the frame of challenges 3 and 4.
Challenge 3: Enhancement
We will establish SleepLoop as a tool to improve outcome of brain disease. We will use SleepLoop to enhance sleep in healthy and clinical populations in order to explore treatment options for brain disorders, establish disease-modifying or prevention strategies for neurodegenerative disease, enhance daytime performance, and improve quality of life.
Challenge 4: Deprivation
We will establish SleepLoop as a tool to improve clinical outcome by locally sleep depriving the brain. Sleep deprivation is well known for its negative effects on cognitive performance, but it holds also beneficial effects in depressed or epileptic patients. SleepLoop will provide an approach allowing for a local deprivation of sleep which should reduce the negative side effects. We will test the antidepressant and antiepileptic effects of this novel non-invasive and non-pharmacological sleep deprivation method.
Challenge 5: Periphery
We will establish SleepLoop for improving outcome of systemic disease. Deep sleep enhancement may serve as an attractive tool to contribute to better control of endocrinological or immune disease. In future steps, we envision to test whether sleep enhancement can be used to avoid or delay conversion of patients at risk into manifest disease, and to use circadian properties of endocrinological and immune system functions to further optimize and personalize outcomes.