Sleep, socioeconomic status, and Parkinson’s disease

Faustin Armel Etindele Sosso
PhD Candidate
Université du Québec à Montréal
Graduate Student Award
Funded in partnership with Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé
$5,000 over 2 years
Contribution of socioeconomic status to insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness in normal aging and Parkinson’s disease

Sleep disturbances are one of the main non-motor control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and intuitively, it makes sense that they could be worse for people who must work shifts or juggle several jobs to make ends meet.

No one has thoroughly studied the relationship between socioeconomic status, insomnia or daytime sleepiness, and Parkinson’s disease– until now.

Faustin Armel Etindele Sosso, a PhD student at the Université du Québec

à Montréal, is comparing data contained in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and the Quebec Parkinson Network to plot any relationship between the educational achievement, income, marital status and postal codes of people with Parkinson’s in Canada who have these sleep disturbances.

Etindele Sosso will also use questionnaires for people with Parkinson’s disease to assess the duration and quality of their sleep, daytime sleepiness, anxiety, depression, and cognition.

“Sleep disorders have physiological impacts,” says Etindele Sosso. “After five or ten years, people who are not sleeping well will develop an issue with immunity and cognitive impairment. You also have a strong association between people who are not sleeping well with an increase in obesity, sleep apnea and diabetes.”

Given the association between sleep disorders and Parkinson’s disease, Etindele Sosso wants to see how socioeconomic factors also affect the progression of the

“Some literature has hypothesized that a person who does not have access to specialists in the treatment of disorders like Parkinson’s will just see these symptoms increase. The disease will evolve faster compared to people with access to treatment and diagnosis.”

disease. People who can’t afford to take time off work or can’t get to doctors or access specialists – all functions of socioeconomic status – may not get the interventions they need to help with their Parkinson’s symptoms, for example.

“Some literature has hypothesized that a person who does not have access to specialists in the treatment of disorders like Parkinson’s will just see these symptoms increase,” Etindele Sosso says. “The disease will evolve faster compared to people with access to treatment and diagnosis.”

If Etindele Sosso can demonstrate an association between poorer socioeconomic conditions, sleep disturbances and Parkinson’s disease, he hopes his research will help people working in economics, sociology and psychology to better understand the physiological impact those conditions have on the body.

Etindele Sosso is particularly interested in the effects of socioeconomic factors because, as an immigrant to Canada from his native French Cameroon, he has lived with isolation and poverty. Although he studied in Tunisia and was an anesthesiologist there, he has not been able to work in that field in Canada. Instead, he’s turned his medical and science background into a research career.

“I know what it means to have a low socioeconomic status, as an immigrant and a student having difficulty getting a job and studying and paying my bills. I wanted to investigate and share my own experience,” he says.