Understanding Race-Gender Associations in Insomnia Patterns and Late-Life Memory Trajectories: Afsara Zaheed


The graduate student at the University of Michigan provided insight on her study examining longitudinal patterns of difficulty initiating sleep and their associations with subsequent memory trajectories among different races and genders. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"The folks with intermittent DIS pattern showing lower subsequent memory compared with those who didn’t report that problem was a bit unexpected, because I would expect that the more persistent DIS pattern would be more detrimental for health."

Previous research has suggested that difficulty initiating sleep (DIS) may be a stronger predictor of neurodegenerative risk than other insomnia symptoms. A new study presented at the 2022 SLEEP Annual Meeting, June 4-8, in Charlotte, North Carolina featured a cohort of 12,565 participants to see whether longitudinal patterns of DIS are associated with subsequent memory trajectories, and whether associations differ across non-Hispanic Black and White men and women. DIS, or “how often do you have trouble falling asleep,” at 3 biennial waves was dichotomized into “never/rarely/sometimes” equals 0, and “often” equals 1.1

Participants were categorized into 3 mutually exclusive groups: low (reference group), persistent, and variable DIS. Results showed that persistent DIS was most prevalent among White women (5.4% vs 2.4-4%), and variable DIS was most prevalent among Black women (24.1% vs 14-22.2%). Persistent DIS was only significantly associated with memory among White women (ß = –0.04, P = .003; Black men: ß = –0.04, P = .324; White men: ß = 0.03, P = .087; Black women: ß = 0.01; P = .859).

Lead investigator Afsara Zaheed, graduate student, University of Michigan, sat down with NeurologyLive® at SLEEP 2022 to discuss the findings, including the reasoning behind the analysis and the biggest takeaways observed. Additionally, she discussed persistent vs variable DIS and the differences shown among race and genders.

Click here for more coverage of SLEEP 2022.

1. Zaheed A, Chervin R, Zahodne L. The role of race-gender intersectionality in associations between insomnia patterns and late-life memory trajectories. Presented at: SLEEP 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, NC. Abstract 0334.
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