Sleep Disorder May Predict Lewy Body Disease

  1. Home
  2. To Us, It's Personal Blog
  3. Sleep-Disorder-May-Predict-Lewy-Body-Disease
sleeping-300x199.jpgA study published online in the medical journal Sleep Medicine indicates that a certain sleeping disorder may be a predictor of Lewy body disease, a common form of dementia that relates to the occurrence of abnormal structures in the brain.

RBD and Lewy body disease

The study, led by the Mayo Clinic, looked at the possible relationship between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep behavior disorder and the subsequent development of Lewy body disease.  In REM sleep behavior disorder, otherwise known as RBD, a person moves frequently during REM sleep, often as if acting out an unpleasant dream. The motions may also be accompanied by vocal sounds.  Sometimes the movements are forceful and can cause injury, but often they are subtler. Moving or making sounds while sleeping is not uncommon, but it is not something that usually happens during REM phases of sleep, which tend to be more peaceful.

The study, which goes by the somewhat daunting title of “Clinicopathologic Correlations in 172 Cases of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder with or without a Coexisting Neurologic Disorder,” looked at the records of 172 deceased patients who had been diagnosed with RBD; 83% of the patients were male and the mean age of death was 75 years.  The researchers found that 170 of these individuals also had a neurodegenerative disorder.  Of those, 136 had some form of Lewy body disease.

What does this mean?

Although further studies are needed to confirm these results, the study does seem to indicate that there is a connection between RBD and Lewy body disease.  This information can be helpful when doctors are trying to diagnose a patient who has a neurodegenerative disease.  If the patient does not have RBD, then it is likely that he or she does not Lewy body disease.

It also means that if a patient has RBD but no signs of dementia, the doctor may want to monitor the patient for signs that Lewy body disease may develop in the future; the earlier it can be diagnosed, the sooner treatments can be put in place to help modify the progress of the disease.

Related Article

Sleep Disorders and Lewy Body Disease -


There are no comments on this post.
Looking for advice?

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Sign up for advice

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Please select at least one newsletter.
Valid email address is required
View sample
View sample
View sample