Parkinson disease is a disorder of the central nervous system which is characterized by slowness and pauperization of movement. Early symptoms of the disease include difficulty walking such as rigidity, shaking, slowness and conditions like galt and memory loss. As the disease progresses, it is possible that the person who suffers from it develops behavioral problems. Some of which include dementia, outbreaks of violence and so on. Sleep disorders, sensory problems are also possible. So far there is no cure for Parkinson, but there are treatments which are effective when it comes to dealing with the symptoms, and a great way to get ahead of the disease is by discovering it early, and it seems that recent research done by scientist have managed to do just that.
Researchers of the neurological department of the clinical hospital in Barcelona have discovered that people who suffer from REM stage sleep disorder have increased chances of developing Parkinson disease. This method can be used to more accurately diagnose Parkinson, even before more serious symptoms arise. The study showed that patients who were suffering from the REM stage sleep problems like nightmares and sudden leg movements have increased chances of developing Parkinson or some other form of dementia later on.
REM stage sleep is when we dream, and in healthy person during this stage body is almost completely paralyzed because our brain disables our muscles so that we can rest. This is not the case with individuals who suffer from REM disorder, and their dreams are usually accompanied with violent movements.
The Spanish team of researchers monitored forty three patients who were suffering from REM disorders and were over sixty years old. They determined that around thirty percent of them were affected with Parkinson disease or some other degenerative brain disorders like dementia with Lewy bodies within two and a half years after the REM stage sleep disorder was diagnosed. Experts from the American Mayo clinic have come to similar conclusions and they claim that uncontrollable sleep movements can point to high risk of developing Parkinson disease even 50 years before the real diagnosis.
Additionally it was discovered that twenty five percent of people above the age of sixty suffer from some form of dementia, as well that the sleep disorders were first signs of brain disease. This discovery could allow early diagnosis of such conditions and that means that the proper therapy could be administered more quickly which will increase it's effectiveness.