Sleep is a fundamental physiological process necessary to the proper functioning of our brain. Sleep disorders are very common particularly in the elderly and comorbid with brain diseases. Our purpose is to better understand mechanisms regulating to the sleep-wake cycle particularly in “model diseases” of hypersomnolence with a specific focus on narcolepsy (i.e. the most severe form of sleepiness in humans) and in the elderly.
Our epidemiological work is helping to better identify individuals and population groups that could respond to primary and secondary prevention strategies for dementia in the elderly or decline in intellectual function.
Our clinical research activities in the field of Alzheimer's disease are aimed at determining the diagnostic and prognostic relevance of biomarkers, modeling the ideal care pathway for timely diagnosis at an early stage of the disease, investigate secondary or tertiary prevention factors for dementia and cognitive decline.
Stress has been labelled by the W.H.O as the 21st century worldwide health epidemic. Stress, especially during critical periods of development, can result in long-term alterations in brain structures and stress signalling. Individual differences in fear learning/extinction and information processing of traumatic memories could differentially contribute to the onset of neurocognitive disorders, further modulated by resilience capacity. Our purpose is to determine the relative contributions and interaction of biological, behavioural and environmental factors to the loss (or preservation) of cognitive functions with ageing, with a particular focus on stress-related neuromarkers. We hypothesize that severe life events can lead to persistent dysregulation of stress systems, increasing vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disorders in adults and neurodegenerative disorders in later-life. The unifying hypothesis of the projects undertaken by our group is that biomarkers of stress exposure may constitute robust predictors of disease risk.