Beware if you kick or cry out during sleep

December 26th, 2008 - 11:12 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 26 (IANS) Beware if you kick or cry out during sleep. You could be at greater risk of developing dementia or Parkinson’s disease. The disorder is called REM sleep behaviour disorder. People with the disorder do not have the normal lack of muscle tone that occurs during REM sleep, often known as the dream stage of sleep.

Instead, they have excessive muscle activity such as punching, kicking, or crying out, essentially acting out their dreams.

“These results are obviously of great interest to people who have this sleep disorder and their physicians and families,” said co-author Ronald B. Postuma, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who conducted the studies at the Sacre Coeur Hospital.

The study involved 93 people with this type of sleep disorder who had no signs of a neurodegenerative disease, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

The participants were followed for an average of five years. During that time, 26 of the people developed a neurodegenerative disease. Fourteen developed Parkinson’s disease, 11 developed dementia and were diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia.

One person developed multiple system atrophy, a rare disorder that affects movement, blood pressure and other body functions.

The estimated five-year risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease was 18 percent, with the 10-year risk at 41 percent and the 12-year risk at 52 percent, according to a McGill release.

These findings have been published in an online issue of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Postuma, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, noted that the study involved only people with no known cause for the REM sleep behaviour disorder.

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