Do you sleep restlessly and hit out and kick in your sleep? This could be a sign of a disorder associated with diseases of the brain. Researchers have studied the condition of the dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain and cells that participate in the brain's immune system in people suffering from the sleep disorder Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, RBD.
The study shows that patients suffering from RBD have a risk of developing Parkinson's disease or dementia in the future, because they already suffer from a lack of dopamine in the brain. Parkinson's disease occurs precisely because the group of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine stop working.
The RBD sleep disorder is characterized by disturbances in the part of sleep where dreams take place. Healthy people are relaxed and lie still during dream sleep, while people suffering from RBD live out their dreams so that while sleeping they can hit out, kick and shout.
"These patients have an inflammation of the brain in the area where the dopamine-producing nerve cells are found," says one of the researchers behind the study. The findings have just been published in the neurological journal The Lancet Neurology.
This is completely new knowledge, as researchers have not previously demonstrated that there is a form of inflammation of the brain in patients who are at risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
"With this study, we have gained new knowledge about the disease processes in the brain in the early initial stages of the disease development. The idea is for this knowledge to be used to determine which patients with the sleep disorder will later develop Parkinson's disease. At the same time, this is also knowledge that can help to develop drugs which can stop or slow the development of the diseases," explains the author about the sleep disorder which most often affects persons aged 50-70, and more frequently men than women.
Restless sleep may be an early sign of Parkinson's disease
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