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Sleep Disturbances Can Be Early Indicator of Parkinson's Disease Onset

Update Date: Jul 11, 2014 08:26 AM EDT

Around 70 percent of Parkinson's disease patient experience sleep problems that negatively impact their quality of life. 

In a review published recently, researches discussed the underlying causes of sleep problems in Parkinson's along with the medications, disease pathology and comorbidities. The review also described the most appropriate diagnostic tools and treatment options. 

The review added that the sleep problems in PD patients can have wide-ranging adverse effects and can even worse in the later stages of the disease. Excessive sleepiness also means that patients must give up driving. 

"Diagnosis and effective treatment and management of these problems are essential for improving the quality of life and reducing institutionalization of these patients," said lead author Wiebke Schrempf, MD, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, Department of Neurology, Division of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dresden, Germany, in the press release. 

In the review researchers have also described some of the complexities associated with treating sleep problems in PD patients, i.e, worsening of sleep problems by dopaminergic medications used to treat motor symptoms. 

RBD seems to be a good clinical predictor of emerging neurodegenerative diseases with a high specificity and low sensitivity, whereas other early clinical features of PD, such as olfactory dysfunction and constipation, are less specific," added Dr. Schrempf in the press release. "These early clues may help identify PD patients before motor symptoms appear, when disease-modifying therapies may be most beneficial."

The review has been published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. 

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