Could a good night’s sleep help to prevent future cognitive decline in older adults? A professor at the University hopes to find out if individuals with mild cognitive impairment could delay the effects of dementia by improving their sleeping habits.Meghan Mattos, an associate professor at the University’s School of Nursing, is working to establish a feasible method of determining the relationship between sleep and mild cognitive impairment. She is using an internet intervention program known as Sleep Healthy Using the Internet for Older Adult Sufferers of Insomnia and Sleeplessness, or SHUTi OASIS, developed by her colleague and mentor Lee Ritterband, a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University.
Over the course of his career, Ritterband focused on developing internet-based interventions to bridge his interests between clinical psychology and computer science. Upon arriving at to the University in 1997, as the internet was starting to become mainstream, Ritterband saw the potential to use it to broaden the reach of his work.
Mattos and her colleagues have developed a trial for older adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment around the SHUTi program, with funding from the National Institutes of Health and a Translational Health Institute of Virginia grant.