Posted by: Bert Copple | November 29, 2010

Nightmares may be early sign of Parkinson’s

Older adults who shout or cry in their sleep may be more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to researchers at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.

An earlier study found that REM sleep disturbances are an early marker of neurodegenerative diseases. New research by the same team applied neuroimaging techniques to identify patients with REM sleep disturbances who will develop neurodegenerative disorders.

In its previous work, the team found that 45 percent of the patients studied, all over the age of 60, developed a neurodegenerative disorder five years after diagnosis of the sleep disturbance. The new study followed 43 new patients for two-and-a-half years following the neuroimaging tests. Nineteen percent of the patients developed a neurodegenerative disorder during this time – five developed Parkinson’s disease, two developed Lewy body dementia and one developed multisystemic atrophy.

Patients with normal neuroimaging findings showed no neurological disorders during the follow-up study.

Researchers concluded that the neuroimaging tests make it possible to identify patients with REM sleep disturbances who are at high risk of early development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s. This new knowledge could help improve scientists’ knowledge of the disease progression and possible early drug therapy.

If you have a loved one that might be in need of special care, Home Instead Senior Care is here to help. Our caregivers are excellent overnight companions to seniors, and they are especially helpful for those who may suffer from nightmares or other sleep distrubances. They bring with them the calming reassurance that seniors need at these moments, while also easing the stress of possible family caregivers who cannot provide overnight care, as well as the family overall.

Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to help your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.


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