Posted on Aug 12, 2010, 6 a.m.
REM sleep behavior disorder, characterized by dreams accompanied by excessive movement, may be a sign of a neurodegenerative condition appearing decades later.
Previous studies have found that REM sleep behavior disorder, characterized by dreams accompanied by excessive movement, precedes Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative conditions by a decade or so, suggesting a protracted precinical phase of disease development. Bradley F. Boeve, from The Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA), and colleagues found that among 27 patients with Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, or dementia with Lewy bodies, the median time between the onset of REM sleep behavior disorder and symptom onset of the neurodegenerative condition was 25 years; in one case, the time lag was 50 years. The researchers posit that this time window offers the potential to develop therapies that might slow or halt progression of these neurodegenerative diseases, which could be implemented well in advance of the onset of cognitive and motor symptoms.
D. O. Claassen, K. A. Josephs, J. E. Ahlskog, M. H. Silber, M. Tippmann-Peikert, B. F. Boeve. “REM sleep behavior disorder preceding other aspects of synucleinopathies by up to half a century.” Neurology, July 28, 2010; doi: doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181ec7fac.