This site is intended for UK healthcare professionals
Medscape UK Univadis Logo
Medscape UK Univadis Logo
Clinical Summary

Circadian Rhythm Disruption Is a Risk Factor for Brain Disorders


  • Circadian rhythm disruption is a risk factor for developing common neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, including all-cause dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, major depression disorder, and anxiety disorder.

Why This Matters

  • Future studies should focus on circadian rhythm as a potential target for preventing various brain disorders.

Study Design

  • Findings are from a prospective cohort study that included 72,242 participants (age 37-73 years) from the UK Biobank (2006-2010).
  • Main outcomes: first occurrence of common brain disorders including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, major depression disorder, and anxiety disorder.
  • Funding: Science and Technology Innovation 2030 Major Projects and others.

Key Results

  • During a median follow-up of 6.1 years, 262 participants were diagnosed with all-cause dementia, 115 with Alzheimer’s disease, 190 with Parkinson’s disease, 481 with stroke, 1102 with major depression disorder, and 1161 with anxiety disorders.
  • Individuals with a lower relative amplitude had a higher risk of (adjusted HR [aHR]; 95% CI):
    • all-cause dementia (1.23; 1.15 to 1.31; P<0.001);
    • Parkinson’s disease (1.33; 1.25 to 1.41; P<0.001);
    • stroke (1.13; 1.06 to 1.22; P<0.001);
    • major depression disorder (1.18; 1.13 to 1.23; P<0.001); and
    • anxiety disorder (1.14; 1.09 to 1.20; P<0.001).
  • There was a significant association between the low relative amplitude and the Alzheimer’s disease risk (aHR 1.16; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.33; P=0.036), but this association was not significant after Bonferroni correction (α = 0.05/6).


  • Observational design.
  • Risk of unmeasured or residual confounding.