Rest-Activity Rhythm Fragmentation and Weaker Circadian Strength Are Associated With Cognitive Impairment in Survivors of Acute Respiratory Failure

Pei Lin Yang, Naomi S. Chaytor, Robert L. Burr, Vishesh K. Kapur, Susan M. McCurry, Michael V. Vitiello, Catherine L. Hough, Elizabeth C. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Survivors of acute respiratory failure (ARF) experience long-term cognitive impairment and circadian rhythm disturbance after hospital discharge. Although prior studies in aging and neurodegenerative diseases indicate actigraphy-estimated rest-activity circadian rhythm disturbances are risk factors for cognitive impairment, it is unclear if this applies to ARF survivors. This study explored the relationships of actigraphy-estimated rest-activity circadian rhythms with cognitive functioning in ARF survivors at 3 months after discharge. Methods: 13 ARF survivors (mean age 51 years and 69% males) completed actigraphy and sleep diaries for 9 days, followed by at-home neuropsychological assessment. Principal component factor analysis created global cognition and circadian rhythm variables, and these first components were used to examine the global relationships between circadian rhythm and cognitive measure scores. Results: Global circadian function was associated with global cognition function in ARF survivors (r =.70, p =.024) after adjusting for age, education, and premorbid cognition. Also, greater fragmented rest-activity circadian rhythm (estimated by intradaily variability, r =.85, p =.002), and weaker circadian strength (estimated by amplitude, r =.66, p =.039; relative strength, r =.70, p =.024; 24-h lag serial autocorrelation, r =.67, p =.035), were associated with global cognition and individual cognitive tests. Conclusions: These results suggest circadian rhythm disturbance is associated with poorer global cognition in ARF survivors. Future prospective research with larger samples is needed to confirm these results and increase understanding of the relationship between disrupted circadian rhythms and cognitive impairment among ARF survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalBiological research for nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • actigraphy
  • acute respiratory failure
  • circadian rhythm
  • cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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