In our next Researcher Live series, we will be focusing on ‘Sleep & Memory’ – bringing you four fantastic speakers.


Join our second episode on 17th November at 11 am BST for a talk with Caterina Leitner, Sleep Medicine Centre of San Raffaele hospital. Sign up here to receive email reminders for this series.


What are we going to talk about in this episode?


The main objective of this project is to evaluate the reorganisation of emotional memories in isolated Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Behaviour Disorder (iRBD) patients in comparison to healthy controls (HC). An involvement of REM sleep instability in the breakdown of overnight emotional processing has been demonstrated in insomnia disorder (Wassing et al. 2019). 


REM sleep anomalies are a core criterion of iRBD and a high prevalence of emotion dysregulation symptoms in iRBD patients has been reported by questionnaires-based studies (Barber et al., 2018; Jun et al., 2020; Kim et al., 2020). Despite this, up to now, no studies have assessed the relationship between emotion dysregulation and REM sleep instability in RBD patients.  


In the light of these premises, more specifically, the experiment aims to:



  • assess the presence of depressive, anxious, apathy, emotion dysregulation symptoms in iRBD patients in comparison to HC and their association with REM Sleep Without Atonia (RSWA).


  • evaluate subjective arousal response and autonomic to an emotional overnight task in iRBD patients and HC, and their association to RSWA.


  • evaluate the effect of targeted memory reactivation (TMR) during REM sleep to both subjective response and autonomic response to IAPS stimuli in iRBD patients compared to HC.


Up to now, an experimental approach to emotional memory in iRBD patients is still unexplored. 

The employment of TMR in the context of iRBD provides for the first time an insight into the emotional brain when neurodegenerative pathophysiological processes are ongoing. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that iRBD patients will develop alpha-synucleinopathies neurodegeneration over time (Galbiati et al. 2019).


This study may provide an insight on the relationship between iRBD and the insurgence of daytime mood impairment by investigating the role of REM sleep in modulating daytime response to emotional stimuli. 


Series programme:


  • 15th November, 10 am BST - ‘Reactivating memories in sleep and dreams’ with Dr Anthony Bloxham, Nottingham Trent University.


  • 17th November, 11 am BST – ‘Emotion regulation and Targeted Memory Reactivation in healthy controls and isolated REM Behaviour Disorder patients’ with Caterina Leitner, Sleep Medicine Centre of San Raffaele hospital


  • 17th November, 4 pm BST – ‘Why we don’t do well without sleepwith Dr Scott Cairney, University of York


  • 18th November, 3 pm BST – ‘Evolving plasticity in the brain and behaviour after memory reactivation during sleep with Dr Martyna Rakowska, Cardiff University
Date and Time
Thursday, November 17, 2022
11:00 am - 12:00 pm GMT+0
Avatar Caterina Leitner

Caterina Leitner graduated in Sciences and Psychological Techniques, Faculty of Psychology (BSc,2017) and in Clinical Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology (MSc,2019) at “Vita-Salute” San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy. She completed her post-graduate internship in the Sleep Medicine Centre of San Raffaele hospital, Milan, Italy, where she is currently a PhD student. Sleep disorders, cognition and neurodegenerative diseases are her main research interests. To be specific, the overall aim of her PhD research project is to explore sensitive neuropsychological and electrophysiological biomarkers for the prediction of phenoconversion to synucleinopathies in Rem Behaviour Disorder patients, and also to explain their daytime functioning, in particular the emotional functioning.  She visited Cardiff University, UK, as visiting PhD student, to study the Targeted Memory Reactivation (TMR), a technique to manipulate sleep.

DOI: uM4puMKMYfQYb2Uxds3E_prepost_4

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