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Sleep disturbances indicate onset of Parkinson's
Saturday July 12, 2014 11:22 AM, IANS

Sleep behaviour disorder characterised by vivid, violent dreams or dream re-enactment could be a better indicator of onset of Parkinson's disease than other common symptoms such as olfactory dysfunction and constipation, says a study.

Parkinson's disease (PD) affects five million people worldwide and up to 70 percent of patients experience sleep problems.

"RBD (rapid eye movement-sleep behaviour disorder) seems to be a good clinical predictor of emerging neurodegenerative diseases with a high specificity and low sensitivity, whereas other early clinical features of PD, such as olfactory dysfunction and constipation, are less specific," said Wiebke Schrempf from Dresden University of Technology in Germany.

"These early clues may help identify PD patients before motor symptoms appear, when disease-modifying therapies may be most beneficial," Schrempf noted.

Sleep problems in PD patients can have wide-ranging adverse effects and can worsen in later stages of the disease. Sleepiness socially isolates patients and excessive sleepiness can put patients at risk of falls or injury, and can mean patients must give up driving.

"Diagnosis and effective treatment and management of these problems are essential for improving the quality of life and reducing institutionalisation of these patients," Schrempf noted.

The review article appeared in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.

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