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Sleep behavior disorder linked to brain disease

Date:
April 22, 2014
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A sleep disorder that causes people to act out their dreams is the best current predictor of brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, research suggests. In this disorder, the disturbance occurs during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep and causes people to act out their dreams, often resulting in injury to themselves and/or bed partner. In healthy brains, muscles are temporarily paralyzed during sleep to prevent this from happening.

Researchers at the University of Toronto say a sleep disorder that causes people to act out their dreams is the best current predictor of brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Credit: © Spectral-Design / Fotolia

Researchers at the University of Toronto say a sleep disorder that causes people to act out their dreams is the best current predictor of brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

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"Rapid-eye-movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is not just a precursor but also a critical warning sign of neurodegeneration that can lead to brain disease," says associate professor and lead author Dr. John Peever. "In fact, as many as 80 to 90 per cent of people with RBD will develop a brain disease."

As the name suggests, the disturbance occurs during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep and causes people to act out their dreams, often resulting in injury to themselves and/or bed partner. In healthy brains, muscles are temporarily paralyzed during sleep to prevent this from happening.

"It's important for clinicians to recognize RBD as a potential indication of brain disease in order to diagnose patients at an earlier stage," says Peever. "This is important because drugs that reduce neurodegeneration could be used in RBD patients to prevent (or protect) them from developing more severe degenerative disorders."

His research examines the idea that neurodegeneration might first affect areas of the brain that control sleep before attacking brain areas that cause more common brain diseases like Alzheimer's.

Peever says he hopes the results of his study lead to earlier and more effective treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Michael Kennedy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John Peever, Pierre-Hervι Luppi, Jacques Montplaisir. Breakdown in REM sleep circuitry underlies REM sleep behavior disorder. Trends in Neurosciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.02.009

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Sleep behavior disorder linked to brain disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422084517.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2014, April 22). Sleep behavior disorder linked to brain disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422084517.htm
University of Toronto. "Sleep behavior disorder linked to brain disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422084517.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

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