Functional Neuroimaging in Sleep Disorders

  • Eric A. Nofzinger


While the utilization of nuclear medicine methods for the assessment of sleep disorders is still in its infancy, early studies suggest that this is a promising area for future development. The assessment of brain function during sleep introduces a time-of-day variable into a neuroimaging study. Extensive preclinical knowledge of the neural mechanisms of sleep regulation helps to inform models of brain function that may be altered by sleep and by sleep disorders. Early studies show reliable increases in function in limbic and anterior paralimbic cortex in REM sleep and decreases in function in higher order cortical regions in known thalamocortical networks during NREM sleep. While most of the early work in this area has been devoted to the study of normal sleep mechanisms, a collection of studies in diverse sleep disorders such as sleep deprivation, depression, insomnia, dyssomnias, narcolepsy and sleep apnoea suggest that nuclear medicine has great potential in clarifying the pathophysiology of sleep disorders and potentially in guiding treatment strategies.


Positron Emission Tomography Single Photon Emission Compute Tomography Sleep Disorder Sleep Deprivation NREM Sleep 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric A. Nofzinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Sleep Neuroimaging Research Program, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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