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Volume 14 No. 02
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Increased EEG Theta Spectral Power in Sleep in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1

Joseph Cheung, MD, MS1; Chad Ruoff, MD1; Hyatt Moore, PhD1; Katharine A. Hagerman, PhD2; Jennifer Perez2; Sarada Sakamuri, MD2; Simon C. Warby, PhD3; Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD1; John Day, MD, PhD2; Jacinda Sampson, MD, PhD2
1Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; 2Department of Neurology, Stanford University Hospitals and Clinics, Stanford, California; 3Department of Psychiatry, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada

Study Objectives:

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multisystemic disorder that involves the central nervous system (CNS). Individuals with DM1 commonly present with sleep dysregulation, including excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep-disordered breathing. We aim to characterize electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectra from nocturnal polysomnography (PSG) in patients with DM1 compared to matched controls to better understand the potential CNS sleep dysfunction in DM1.


A retrospective, case-control (1:2) chart review of patients with DM1 (n = 18) and matched controls (n = 36) referred for clinical PSG at the Stanford Sleep Center was performed. Controls were matched based on age, sex, apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), body mass index (BMI), and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Sleep stage and respiratory metrics for the two groups were compared. Power spectral analysis of the EEG C3-M2 signal was performed using the fast Fourier transformation.


Patients with DM1 had significantly increased theta percent power in stage N2 sleep compared to matched controls. Theta/beta and theta/alpha percent power spectral ratios were found to be significantly increased in stage N2, N3, all sleep stages combined, and all wake periods combined in patients with DM1 compared to controls. A significantly lower nadir O2 saturation was also found in patients with DM1 versus controls.


Compared to matched controls, patients with DM1 had increased EEG theta spectral power. Increased theta/beta and theta/alpha power spectral ratios in nocturnal PSG may reflect DM1 pathology in the CNS.


Cheung J, Ruoff C, Moore H, Hagerman KA, Perez J, Sakamuri S, Warby SC, Mignot E, Day J, Sampson J. Increased EEG theta spectral power in sleep in myotonic dystrophy type 1. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(2):229–235.

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