REM Sleep Disorder Linked to Neurocognitive Disorders

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One sleep disorder, REM behavior disorder, could be a sign of impending neurocognitive disease, including Parkinson's and dementia, say scientists presenting their research at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's 2014 Annual Meeting.

Researchers are not sure why spontaneous and unexplained disturbance in REM sleep should lead to a neurocognitive disease like Parkinson's, but new longitudinal imaging data show a clear correlation between idiopathic REM behavior disorder and dysfunction of the dopamine transporter system involved in a wide range of vital brain functions, including memory and motor control. Dysfunction associated with dopamine in the brain marks the first hints of Parkinson's disease.

"Our SPECT study showed a trend toward decreased dopamine transporter density in the brain and Parkinsonism in the follow-up data of patients with REM sleep disorder who had no previous evidence of neurodegenerative disease," said Hongyoon Choi, MD, a PhD candidate and researcher in the department of molecular medicine and biopharmaceutical sciences at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Sungnam, Korea. "To our knowledge, a study looking at a long-term link between the two has never been conducted before."

Sleep disorder linked to development of progressive brain diseases such as Parkinson's
Sleep disorder linked to development of progressive brain diseases such as Parkinson's
How many millions of people suffer from sleep disturbance. One sleep disorder in particular, called REM behavior disorder, could be a sign of impending neurodegenerative disease, including Parkinson's and dementia, say scientists presenting their research at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's 2014 Annual Meeting.
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