Could Sleep Disorders Point to Dementia?



Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. found that sleep disorders may signal dementia or Parkinson's disease up to 50 years before they are diagnosed. The study found an average of 25 years between the start of the sleep disorder and the symptoms of dementia in 13 participants, a diagnosis of Parkinson's in 13 participants, and in one participant, a diagnosis of multiple system atrophy, which causes symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease.
Published in "Neurology", the study found that 27 people had experienced REM (rapid eye movement) sleep behavior disorder, characterized by "acting out" dreams including violent movements, for at least 15 years before developing one of the three conditions.
"More research is needed on this possible link so that scientists may be able to develop therapies that would slow down or stop the progression of these disorders years before the symptoms of Parkinson's disease or dementia appear," study author Dr. Bradley Boeve said in a statement.



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