Current Projects: Sleep Neurobiology


Our ongoing research and clinical interests focus upon neural dysfunction that only becomes apparent only during sleep. Those “sleep disorders” include sleep apnea, rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder, periodic limb movements (PLM’s) during sleep, insomnia and others.

Clinical observation and epidemiologic research inform our basic-science endeavors. Our clinical research seeks to characterize the incidence and prevalence of symptoms corresponding with sleep disorders within the general population. We explore mechanisms through which those disorders lead to comorbid chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.

One over-arching question that we seek to answer is why neural dysfunction that is apparent only during “sleep” presents with symptoms that are “perceived” only during wake?

Our ongoing lines of scientific inquiry explore the following:

  • Which molecular and biochemical pathways are perturbed in “sleep disorders” such as sleep apnea, rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder, periodic limb movements (PLM’s), insomnia and others.
  • Is it the “sleep disorder” or the perturbed neurochemical pathway the leads to daytime symptoms of executive dysfunction (impaired memory), hypersomnolence, and diminished response to stress?
  • If we successfully treat the nocturnal order, do we fully alleviate daytime symptoms?

Relevant Sleep Publications

  • Papale, L.A., Makinson, C.D., Ehlen, J.C., Tufik, S., Decker, M.J, Paul, K.N., Escayg, A. Sleep architecture in a mouse model of SCN1A-derived genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) Article first published online: 11 JAN 2013, DOI: 10.1111/epi.12060
  • Lee S.Y., Lee K.A., Aycock D., Decker M.J. Circadian activity rhythms for mothers with an infant in ICU. Frontiers in Neurology: Sleep and Chronobiology. 1:155. 2010, PMID: 21212829
  • Decker M.J., Lee S.Y, Rye D.B, Strohl K.P. Paradoxical sleep suppresses immediate early gene expression in the rodent Suprachiasmatic Nuclei. Frontiers in Neurology: Sleep and Chronobiology. Front Neurol. 2010 Sep 22;1:122 PMID:21173892
  • Linn, J.M., Decker M.J., Brimmer D., Reeves W.C. Validity of Self-Reported Body Mass Index and Sleeping Problems Among Adult Population of Georgia The Open Obesity Journal, 2:145-150, 2010.
  • Baekey D., Feng P.F., Decker M.J., Strohl K.P. Breathing and Sleep: Measurement Methods, Genetic influences, and Developmental Impacts. In "Sleep Disordered Breathing: Translational Medicine: what animal models have taught us about a human disease. ILAR J. 2009;50(3):248-61
  • Decker M.J., Linn J.M, Tabassum H., Reeves WC . Hypersomnolence and Sleep Related Complaints in Metropolitan, Urban, and Rural Georgia. (Published ahead of print and accompanied by CDC press release). American Journal of Epidemiology 2008;169(4):435-443
  • Rye, D.B., Decker M.J. Sleep apnea. In: EBM Solutions Guidelines for Health Care Providers and Consumers [online database]. Issue 2. Nashville, Tenn: EBM Solutions, Inc; August, 2002.
  • Netzer N., Schuschnik M., Matthys H., Miles L., Steinacker J., Decker M.J. Lehmann M. Sleep and respiration at an altitude of 6,400 m (Aconcagua, Argentina) Pneumologie. 51 Suppl 3:729 35, 1997 Aug.
  • Smith M.L., Niedermaier N.W., Hardy S.M., Decker M.J., Strohl K.P. Role of hypoxemia in sleep apnea-induced sypathoexcitation. J Autonomic Nervous System 56:184-190, 1996
  • Cahan C., Decker M.J., Arnold J.L., Goldwasser E., Strohl K.P. Erythropoeitin levels with treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. J. Appl. Physiol. 79(4);1278-1285, 1995
  • Stanek E.J., Nara A.R., Strohl K.P., Nair R.N., Decker M.J., Munger M.A. Effect of long-term angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy on arterial oxygen saturation in patients with mild to moderate heart failure. Pharmacotherapy 14(3):321-329, 1994.
  • Decker M.J., Smith B.L., Strohl K.P. Center-Based vs Patient-Based diagnosis and therapy of sleep related respiratory disorders and the role of the Respiratory Care Practitioner. Respiratory Care 39(4):390-396, 1994.
  • Munger M.A., Stanek E.J., Nara R.N, Strohl K.P., Decker M.J., Nair R.N. Arterial oxygen saturation in chronic congestive heart failure. Am J Cardiology 73:180-185, 1994.
  • Decker M.J., Haaga J., Arnold J., Atzberger D., Strohl K.P. Functional electrical stimulation and respiration during sleep. J. Appl. Physiol 75(3): 1053-1061, 1993.
  • Cahan C., Gothe B., Decker M.J., Arnold J.L., Leitner J., Strohl K.P. Arterial oxygen saturation over time and sleep studies in quadriplegic patients. Paraplegia 31:172-179, 1993.
  • Strohl K.P., Boehm K.D., Denko C.W., Novak R.D., Decker M.J. Biochemical Morbidity in Sleep Apnea. Ear Nose & Throat Journal 72(1):34-41, 1993.
  • Cahan C., Decker M.J., Arnold J.L., Washington L.H., Veldhuis J., Goldwasser E., Strohl K.P. Diurnal variations in serum erythropoietin levels in healthy subjects and sleep apnea patients. J. Appl. Physiol. 72(6):2112-2117, 1992.
  • Decker M.J., Arnold J.L., Haney D., Masny J., Strohl K.P. Extended- monitoring of oxygen saturation in Chronic Lung Disease. Chest 102(4): 1075-1079, 1992.
  • Decker M.J., Redline S., Arnold J.L., Masny J., Strohl K.P. Normative values of oxygen saturation over time. J. Amb. Monitoring 4(4):297-304, 1991.
  • Gothe B., Redline S., Decker M.J., Strohl K.P. Equipment failure with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (letter). Am. Rev. Resp. Dis. 144(1):239, 1991.
  • Cahan C., Hoekje P.L., Goldwasser E., Decker M.J., Strohl K.P. Assessing the characteristic between length of hypoxic exposure and serum erythropoietin levels. Am. J. Phys. 258 (Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology. 27) R1016 R1021, 1990
  • Decker M.J., Hoekje P.L., Strohl K.P. Ambulatory monitoring of arterial oxygen saturation. Chest 95(4):717 22, 1989.

Current Projects


Michael Decker, PhD, RN, RRT, Diplomate
American Board of Sleep Medicine
Associate Professor
School of Nursing