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Poster B46

Interoception and Sleep: the role of insula cortex across adult lifespan

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Ahhyun Seo1 (, Kyoungeun Lee1, Risako Nishiyama1, Audrey Duarte1; 1The University of Texas at Austin

Interoception, the perception of internal bodily signals, is multi-faceted and varies with age. Connections between brain regions linked to interoception and sleep have been suggested, yet the relationships among interoception, brain volume, and sleep are not fully understood. This study investigates the brain regions associated with different interoceptive dimensions and sleep and the interrelations among these factors across ages. Seventy-six healthy adults (aged 18-79) underwent T1-weighted MRI scans. We analyzed gray matter volumes in four bilateral regions: the anterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex, hippocampus, and medial prefrontal cortex. Interoceptive accuracy was assessed with a heartbeat tapping task and interoceptive sensibility was measured via a questionnaire. Sleep patterns were monitored using actigraphy for 7 days. The results show age was positively related to interoceptive sensibility scores. A larger insular cortex volume was associated with greater interoceptive sensibility across all ages. Furthermore, as age increases, a larger insular volume was associated with increased sleep discontinuity as well, which correlated with higher interoceptive. Regardless of age, those with higher anxiety and more sleep discontinuity showed higher interoceptive accuracy. In conclusion, the findings underscore the insula's pivotal role in interoception throughout the adult lifespan. As individuals age, the insula is more associated with both interoceptive sensibility and accuracy as well as sleep quality, suggesting a potential role for the insula in the interplay between interoception and sleep.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Self perception


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April 13–16  |  2024