Earlier chronotype in midlife as a predictor of accelerated brain aging: a population-based longitudinal cohort study

Hyeon Jin Kim, Regina E.Y. Kim, Soriul Kim, Seung Ku Lee, Hyang Woon Lee, Chol Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Evidence suggests that sleep-wake cycle disruption could be an early manifestation of neurodegeneration and might even be a risk factor for developing diseases in healthy adults. We investigated the impact of circadian phase change on structural and functional brain deterioration in a late-adulthood population. Methods: We analyzed the data of 1874 participants (mean age 58.6 ± 6.3 years, 50.3% female) from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study, who were identified as cognitively unimpaired. The mid-sleep time on free days corrected for sleep debt on workdays (MSFsc) at baseline was adopted as an indicator of the chronotype and used to categorize the participants into three groups. The relationships between the chronotype and longitudinal changes in the gray matter volume (GMV) and cognitive function were investigated (mean interval: 4.2 ± 0.5 years). Results: The mean MSFsc of the participants was 2:45 am. The earlier MSFsc was linearly associated with smaller right entorhinal GMV (β [SE] = 0.02 [0.01]; p =. 001) and lower visual memory function test scores at baseline. Longitudinally, the earlier MSFsc at baseline was only significantly associated with more rapid atrophy in the temporal lobe (β [SE] = 0.18 [0.07]; p =. 018) and not with other brain lobes or subregions. Moreover, the earlier MSFsc was associated with more deteriorated verbal learning and visual memory function test scores. Conclusions: An earlier chronotype in midlife, measured using a questionnaire, can be a valuable indicator for individuals who should be closely monitored for the development of neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsad108
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Sleep Research Society. All rights reserved.


  • aging
  • chronotype
  • cognitive decline
  • cohort study
  • dementia
  • entorhinal cortex
  • memory impairment
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • temporal lobe


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