Purdue University Graduate School

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Sleep and developmental risks: The roles of extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid

posted on 2022-07-19, 19:43 authored by Pearlynne Li Hui ChongPearlynne Li Hui Chong

The manifestations of early sleep disturbances on cerebrospinal fluid and their relations with early developmental competencies are understudied. Recent studies highlight cerebrospinal fluid disbursement as a potential factor associated with dysfunctions in brain development. With two studies, we explored sleep and extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid (EA-CSF) connection as a potential mechanistic pathway by which sleep dysregulation influences brain and behavior development. Specifically, we evaluated associations between (1) EA-CSF to total cerebral volume (EA-CSF/TCV) ratios, (2) parent-report of child sleep problems, and (3) social communication development in typical (Study 1) and atypical populations (Study 2). In typical infants, early sleep problems did not precede later elevated EA-CSF/TCV ratios or social-communicative competence. Elevated EA-CSF/TCV ratios were associated with impaired social communication skills, suggesting that a relationship between elevated EA-CSF/TCV ratios and social communication impairments exists regardless of neurological or sleep problems. In an atypical population with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), older children with ASD had similar EA-CSF/TCV ratios to a group of their typically developing peers. Sleep problems were negatively associated with EA-CSF/TCV ratios but positively associated with social-communicative impairments for children with ASD, highlighting the influence of sleep problems on both brain and behavioral outcomes in an atypical population. In both studies, EA-CSF volumes continue to increase during early development in the typically developing populations (but not later in the atypical sample), underlining its relevance as a marker of atypical processing. Recognizing the potential roles of EA-CSF in influencing several biosocial and behavioral aspects of development, we encourage researchers to continue to explore EA-CSF growth, especially during developmental periods of flux and transition. Future work with longitudinal data can also serve to explore sleep-related developmental changes in EA-CSF, in association with behavioral and phenotypic changes. 


Sleep, the glymphatic system, and social communication development

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Human Development and Family Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

A. J. Schwichtenberg

Additional Committee Member 2

Sharon L. Christ

Additional Committee Member 3

Elliot M. Friedman

Additional Committee Member 4

Brandon M. Keehn

Additional Committee Member 5

Mark D. Shen