January 5, 2009
Sleep Disorder Linked to Dementia, Parkinson’s
An unusual sleep disorder could be a precursor to dementia or Parkinson's disease.
Patients with REM sleep behavior disorder have excessive muscle activity during REM sleep -- often called the dream stage of sleep -- causing them to punch, kick or cry out when they are in a deep sleep.
"The results may help us better understand how these neurodegenerative diseases develop," study author Ronald B. Postuma, M.D., a sleep specialist from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, was quoted as saying. "They also suggest that there may be an opportunity for protecting against the progression to disease, perhaps even preventing it before the symptoms can appear."
The patients involved in this study had no known cause of REM sleep behavior disorder. In some cases, the condition can be caused by narcolepsy or rare brainstem abnormalities.
SOURCE: Neurology, published online Dec. 24, 2008
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