In a new study, researchers found one type of sleep disorder, REM sleep disorder, is linked to Parkinson’s disease.
The findings suggest that using this type of sleep disorder could help predict Parkinson’s disease in older people.
The research was conducted by a team from McGill University.
A REM sleep disorder can lead to violent acting out of dreams because the normal paralysis during sleep is absent.
The patients will “act out” his or her dreams that are vivid, intense, and violent. They may show behaviors like yelling, punching, kicking, jumping from a bed and grabbing.
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system. It can lead to progressive deterioration of movement, control, and balance.
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s include rigid muscles, impaired speech, tremors, instability and slowed movements.
Previous research has found that REM sleep disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and multiple system atrophy have some connections.
In the current study, the researchers aimed to identify people at high risk of Parkinson’s disease before symptoms appear.
The team examined more than 1,200 patients who had rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder.
All of the patients performed tests that measured their motor, cognitive, autonomic, and special sensory abilities over the years.
The results showed that 73.5% of the patients had developed Parkinson’s after 12 years of follow up.
In addition, patients who experienced motor difficulties were three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s.
The findings suggest a very high risk of Parkinson’s disease in people with a REM sleep disorder. They all provide some factors that could help predict Parkinson’s disease before symptoms appear.
The team hopes their study will contribute to future clinical trials and help develop a more effective therapy for Parkinson’s disease.
This is the largest study on patients with this REM disorder.
The study is published in Brain.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec funded the study.
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