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Sleep-related violence, injury, and REM sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson's disease.

Neurology 1998 August
OBJECTIVE: To determine the occurrence of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and sleep-related injury (SRI) in an outpatient PD practice.

BACKGROUND: RBD is a frequent cause of SRI in older individuals. Although RBD is seen in PD, the association of SRI and RBD in PD has not been previously assessed.

DESIGN/METHODS: Consecutive patients with PD and their caregivers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire assessing the presence of RBD and SRI. Patients fulfilling the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) criteria for RBD were compared with non-RBD patients. In a separate analysis, patients with a prior SRI were compared to those without.

RESULTS: Of the 61 patient/caregiver pairs, 15% (7 men and 2 women) met the clinical criteria for RBD. There were more episodes of SRI in the RBD group, with 33% causing injury to themselves or to their caregivers compared with 6% of the non-RBD group (chi(2) = 13, p = 0.005). In the second analysis, 15% (all men) patient/caregiver pairs reported SRI. Of these, 66% of the patients had behaviors resembling those seen in RBD, and 33% had recalled dream content. There is a significant association between SRI and RBD for dream-enacting sleep behaviors (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: PD patients with SRI frequently have behavioral features of RBD. If RBD underlies most SRI, treatment with appropriate pharmacologic agents, such as clonazepam, may prevent future occurrences of SRI.

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