NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Sleep Disorder Could Signal Neurological Disease

Thursday December 25, 2008

Finding could help docs spot those at risk for dementia, Parkinsons, researchers say
Tate Gunnerson

HealthDay - People with a disorder that causes them to kick or cry out during deep sleep are more likely to develop dementia or Parkinson's disease, a new Canadian study.

"It's basically a disorder where you act out your dreams at night," explained study author Dr. Ronald B. Postuma, of McGill University in Montreal. "When people who have RBD [REM Sleep Behavior Disorder] dream they are in a fight, which is very common, they will make punching movements."

Researchers followed 93 RBD patients and examined them after five, 10 and 12 years for signs of neurological disorders such as dementia or Parkinson's disease. After 12 years, researchers found the majority of people with RBD developed either dementia or Parkinson's, with 26 developing neurodegenerative disease, 15 developing Parkinsons and 11 developing dementia.

"These disorders happen to 1 to 2 percent of the general population in their entire lives, so 50 percent at 12 years is much, much higher," Postuma said. His report was published in the Dec. 24 online issue of Neurology.

While sleep disorders are common, researchers emphasized that the majority are due to the stress of modern life and will not necessarily lead to neurological diseases.

"Half the population has a sleep problem, but most of the time, they're benign," said Michael Jakowec, an assistant professor of neurology at George and Mary Lou Boone Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Research Center at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. "We live in a society with anxiety, stress, late night TV and cappucinos."

"It's important to point out that this is a relatively dramatic disorder that comes on in your 50s and 60s, so it's not something that happens once in awhile your entire life," Postuma explained. "A little bit of sleep talking or waking up a little confused and then falling back asleep again are normal things that happen in the population."

Researchers hope that identifying those at risk for these diseases will help them develop new treatments to either slow or possibly even halt their progression.

"The main thing is to see if we can predict which of these people with RBD are going to get a disease and which are not," said Postuma. "We don't have ways to prevent those diseases now, but maybe that's because by the time a person has these diseases, it's too late to intervene."

"Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn't do very much in terms of preventive medicine, but this may be one of those things where we do know there are lots of factors that can modify disease progression, so let's intervene now," said Jakowec. "Let's get you into things that we believe are protective against some of these diseases, such as changes in diet or lifestyle, which may add quite a few years of quality life to a patient."

"Everybody who has strong signs of REM sleep behavior disorder should probably be evaluated and probably be followed by a neurologist to make sure that everything's OK and to pick up early signs," Postuma said.

Recent News

Aug 22 - Parkinson's Disease Could Be Diagnosed Through Eye Check, Mice Help Researchers In Further Study
Aug 22 - Machine learning to unlock Parkinson's disease mystery
Aug 21 - Cognitive control plays major role in Parkinson’s Gait
Aug 15 - 'I've Never Felt Constrained': After Parkinson's Diagnosis, Chestnut Hill Man Turns To Drumming
Aug 11 - Virtual reality and treadmill training could help prevent falls in older adults
Aug 9 - New laboratory model replicates early phase of Parkinson's before onset of motor symptoms
Aug 8 - Marshall University Scientists Develop A New Approach For Parkinson’s Disease Therapy
Aug 5 - Cambuslang woman diagnosed with Parkinson's at 42 is set to trek through Alps
Aug 4 - Active Music Therapy May Be Beneficial in Parkinson's
Aug 1 - Mini-Brains? Scientists Grow Rice Grain-Sized Brains to Aid Parkinson’s Research
Jul 30 - Lab method sheds light on how genetic mutations cause inherited Parkinson's disease
Jul 27 - Indicators of Parkinson's disease risk found in unexpected places
Jul 24 - Parkinson's: Mutant gene interaction may pave the way for new treatments
Jul 22 - Boxing training used to fight against Parkinson's disease
Jul 17 - Stem cell treatment breakthrough could cure Parkinson’s patients
Jul 14 - Cancer drug shows early promise for Parkinson's disease
Jul 13 - Opinion: Dividing the Caregiving Responsibilities Between Siblings
Jul 12 - Researchers make advance in possible treatments for Gaucher, Parkinson’s diseases
Jul 11 - Parkinson’s Head Trauma Link Looks Even Stronger
Jul 7 - Penn students’ start-up XEED puts wearables to work against Parkinson’s disease