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Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) commonly experience sleep disturbance. This trouble sleeping affects their quality of life and is primarily the result of neurocognitive difficulties. So far, the relationship between SCD and sleep in adults has not been researched in detail. In this study, published in Annals of Hematology, researchers analyzed the relationship between SCD, sleep, executive functioning, and emotional functioning in adults. 

A total of 62 patients were analyzed for this study. Of them, 29 were female, and the mean age was 32. All patients were waiting to undergo a stem cell transplant. Participants underwent a neurocognitive evaluation that gathered data on objective and subjective criteria, including anxiety, depression, and pain intensity. 

About 17% of participants reported sleep disruptions, 16.1% reported significant clinical symptoms of anxiety, and 8% reported symptoms of depression. Sleep disruption was not found to correlate significantly with difficulties in executive functioning. Anxiety, but not depression, was found to be a significant mediator of executive functioning. The researchers advocate for further research on sleep interventions to alleviate the effects of sleep disturbance on anxiety and executive functioning in individuals with SCD [1].


[1] Rhodes, A., Martin, S., Wolters, P., Rodriguez, Y., Toledo-Tamula, M. A., Struemph, K., Fitzhugh, C., Hsieh, M., & Tisdale, J. (2020). Sleep disturbance in adults with sickle cell disease: relationships with executive and psychological functioning. Annals of Hematology, 99(9), 2057–2064. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00277-020-04058-7

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