Rare sleep disorder may be a harbinger of dementia

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - More than half of people with a rare sleep disorder develop a neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s disease, within 12 years of being diagnosed, results of a Canadian study published Wednesday indicate.

So-called “REM sleep behavior disorder” affects a small percentage of the population, Dr. Ronald B. Postuma, at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and colleagues explain in the journal Neurology. It is characterized by a loss of the normal muscle relaxation while dreaming and is seen most often in men aged 50 and older. REM sleep behavior disorder should not be confused with insomnia, night terrors, or confusional arousals.

Small studies have identified REM sleep behavior disorder as a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease and dementia. To investigate further, Postuma’s team conducted a follow-up study of 93 patients diagnosed with unexplained REM sleep behavior disorder between 1989 and 2006. The average time from diagnosis to last evaluation was 5.2 years.

During follow-up, 14 patients developed Parkinson’s disease, 7 developed dementia, 4 developed Alzheimer’s disease, and 1 developed a neurodegenerative disorder called multiple system atrophy (wasting).

The study showed that the chance a patient suffering from REM sleep behavior disorder will develop a neurodegenerative disease is 17.7 percent within 5 years of diagnosis, 40.6 percent within 10 years, and 52.4 percent within 12 years.

“These results establish a clear link and indicate that these sleep disorders could be a predictor of neurodegenerative disease,” Postuma commented in a press statement.

“The results may help us better understand how these neurodegenerative diseases develop,” Postuma added. “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.”

SOURCE: Neurology, online December 24, 2008.


Related Posts:

By Michelle Rizzo NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The cause of a parkinsonian syndrome is not always clear when the symptoms first appear, and the diagnosis often changes over time, according to a paper in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Use of rigid criteria does not necessarily help make the diagnosis. Parkinsonian syndrome refers to

Full Post: Diagnosis of parkinsonian syndrome often changes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although the likelihood of having diabetes diagnosed is increased around the time Parkinson’s disease is identified, diabetes does not appear to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to findings published in Diabetes Care. Some studies have found a positive association between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Jane A. Driver of

Full Post: Diabetes not a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease

LONDON (Reuters) - Top-selling author Terry Pratchett will deliver a petition to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday calling for an urgent increase in funding for dementia research. Pratchett, 60, creator of the “Discworld” series, revealed last December he had been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. “I am appalled that research into

Full Post: Author Terry Pratchett in UK Alzheimer’s plea

LONDON (Reuters) - Keeping a full social calendar may help protect you from dementia, researchers said on Monday. Socially active people who were not easily stressed had a 50 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared with men and women who were isolated and prone to distress, they reported in the journal Neurology. “In the past, studies

Full Post: Go to a party to cut dementia risk, study suggests

By Megan Rauscher NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study hints that young children who are exposed to general anesthesia may be put at significantly increased risk of having behavior problems or language or other “developmental” problems. These findings, reported today at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting, are “provocative but preliminary and I don’t

Full Post: Anesthesia may up kids’ behavior problems

Site Navigation

Most Read



  • kinwrite.com@gmail.com