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The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort

Research Area: Clinical research, Epidemiology
Keywords: Sleep disorders, Sleep apnea, Cardiovascular disease, Aging

Principal Investigator: Paul Peppard

The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort (WSC) is an ongoing longitudinal study of the causes consequences and natural history of sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea, now in its 26th year. The WSC uses overnight in-laboratory sleep studies (in-patient studies at ICTR’s CTRC) conducted with a baseline sample of 1500 Wisconsin state employees, assessed at four year intervals. The WSC is lead by PI Paul Peppard (Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences).

With approximately 100 publications, the WSC study has produced seminal findings on the wide prevalence of sleep apnea (1993 in the New England Journal of Medicine—one of NEJM’s top ten most cited papers in the last 2 decades); the longitudinal association of sleep apnea with cardiovascular, mental health, and mortality outcomes; and risk factors for sleep disorders including weight gain, the menopausal transition, and alcohol use. The WSC will continue to build on this body of work as it has just received word that it will be refunded for another 5 years. Aims for this next phase of the WSC will target the natural history of sleep disorders in older-aged persons; the relation between sleep disorders and cognitive decline, problems with balance and falls; and continued exploration of cardio- and cerebro-vascular outcomes of sleep disorders. The WSC also maintains multiple national and international collaborations related to basic science and population-level sleep research, including partnerships with groups at Stanford, the University of Chicago, Harvard, Toronto, the UK, Poland, France, and others.