Tessa Blanken, MSc: Identification of Robust, Clinically Relevant Insomnia Subtypes

October 5, 2018

The identification of the subtypes allows future studies to target homogeneous subtype samples, resolve inconsistencies, personalize treatment and utilize preventive interventions.

“In an EEG study we were able to show subtype differences, really showing that these subtypes can help and benefit the clinic.”

It’s been quite difficult to identify consistent biomarkers in insomnia, which in turn has stalled the progress of understanding the mechanisms and heterogeneity of the disorder. Earlier proposed subtypes were mainly defined by sleep-related characteristics. A new large-scale study investigated whether traits and life history profiles could reveal previously unrecognized subtypes with greater reliability and relevance in order to identify treatment response and biomarkers.

At the 24th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society in Basel, Switzerland, NeurologyLive sat down with Tessa Blanken, MSc, PhD Student at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam, to discuss the robust and clinically relevant insomnia subtypes identified.

The 5 subtypes identified were distinguished by their multivariate profile of life history, affect and personality as opposed to their sleep complaints. The study which demonstrated stability of the insomnia subtypes allows future studies to target homogeneous subtype samples, resolve inconsistencies, personalize treatment and select those with the greatest risk of depression to create and utilize preventive interventions.

Blanken concluded that the identification of these subtypes is just the beginning and really the first step, and more research is needed in finding specific treatments that would benefit each subtype.