Sleep disorders: A warning sign for neurodegenerative disease?

December 24, 2008

Montreal, December 16, 2008 - According to the latest study by Dr. Ronald Postuma from the Research Institute of the MUHC and Dr. Jacques Montplaisir from the Université de Montréal and the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal, 52.4 per cent of patients with REM sleep behaviour disorder develop a neurodegenerative disease within 12 years following their initial diagnosis. These results will be published on December 24, 2008 in the journal Neurology, the official publication of the American Academy of Neurology.

High risk of neurodegenerative disease

The study showed that the chance a patient suffering from an REM sleep behaviour disorder will develop a neurodegenerative disease is 17.7 per cent within five years of diagnosis, 40.6 per cent within 10 years, and 52.4 per cent within 12 years. "These results establish a clear link and indicate that these sleep disorders could be a predictor of neurodegenerative disease," explained Dr. Postuma.

The 93 patients who participated in this study were recruited and assessed at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal by Dr Jacques Montplaisir.

Impact on future research

"Doctors should pay close attention when following these patients, as their observations could help define the precursors of diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Lewy body dementia, or multiple system atrophy," stated Dr. Montplaisir, principal investigator of the study. Currently, it is difficult to diagnose these diseases with certainty before an advanced stage, as doctors lack data on warning signs. Understanding how to detect these diseases early would be of great value to clinical practice.

Although effective treatments against REM sleep behaviour disorder do exist, these medications do not postpone the onset of neurodegenerative disease. As research is very active in this field, these patients could represent a viable target population in the relatively near future to test the effectiveness of new innovative treatments to fight neuronal degeneration.

A rare pathology

REM sleep behaviour disorder affects a small percentage of the population. It is characterized by a loss of the normal muscle relaxation while dreaming and is seen most often in men fifty and older. This is a specific pathology that should not be confused with insomnia, night terrors, or confusional arousals.
-end-
This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).

Dr. Ronald Postuma is a researcher in the Neuroscience Axis of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). He is also a neurologist at the MUHC and a Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

Dr. Jacques Montplaisir is the Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Sleep Medicine located at the Research Center of the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, a Medical Center affiliated with the Medical School of the Université de Montréal. He is also professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Université de Montréal and holds the Canadian Research Chair in Sleep Medicine

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and health-care hospital research centre. Located in Montreal, Quebec, the institute is the research arm of the MUHC, the university health center affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University//. The institute supports over 600 researchers, nearly 1200 graduate and post-doctoral students and operates more than 300 laboratories devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental and clinical research. The Research Institute operates at the forefront of knowledge, innovation and technology and is inextricably linked to the clinical programs of the MUHC, ensuring that patients benefit directly from the latest research-based knowledge.

The Research Institute of the MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec.

For further details visit: www.muhc.ca/research.

Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal is a supra-regional health centre affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The Research Center of the Hôpital du Sacré Coeur de Montréal (HSCM) is a multidisciplinary research facility that hosts the Center for Advanced Studies in Sleep Medicine where the study was conducted and the CIHR Group on Sleep Disorders, that includes 10 researchers and 25 graduate and postdoctoral fellows working specifically on the physiopathology and the treatment of Sleep Disorders.

Once the embargo is lifted you will find this press release, with the original article and a short audio interview by following this link: http://www.muhc.ca/media/news/

For more information please contact:

Isabelle Kling
Communications Coordinator (research)
MUHC Public Relations and Communications
(514) 843 1560
isabelle.kling@muhc.mcgill.ca

Lyne Arcand,
HSCM Communications Coordinator
514 338-2222, ext 2048 or ext 3248
lyne.arcand.hsc@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Ian Popple
Communications Coordinator
MUHC Public Relations and Communications
Phone: (514) 843 1560
Cell: (514) 463 1400
ian.popple@muhc.mcgill.ca

McGill University Health Centre

Related Neurodegenerative Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

CLCN6 identified as disease gene for a severe form of lysosomal neurodegenerative disease
A mutation in the CLCN6 gene is associated with a novel, particularly severe neurodegenerative disorder.

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

New ALS guideline establishes national standard for managing neurodegenerative disease
The first Canadian guideline for the care and management of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- Lou Gehrig's disease -- recommends a patient-focused approach, with attention to holistic and emotional aspects of well-being.

New study reveals undetected rare neurodegenerative disorder that looks like Parkinson's disease
New Singapore study suggests that patients who are carriers of NIID gene mutation may also present with symptoms and signs of Parkinson's disease (PD), and respond to PD drugs.

Designed a new model to predict the life expectancy of a severe neurodegenerative disease
Researchers from IDIBELL, the University of Göttingen and the University of Münster, designed six tables, using data available at the time of diagnosis, where easily extrapolate patient's life expectancy.

AI-analyzed blood test can predict the progression of neurodegenerative disease
A new study shows artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of blood samples can predict and explain disease progression, which could one day help doctors choose more appropriate and effective treatments for patients.

New study sheds light into origins of neurodegenerative disease
New research has shed light on the origins of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) and demonstrates effective new therapeutic pathways for SCA7 and the more than 40 other types of spinocerebellar ataxia.

Protein aggregation: Protein assemblies relevant not only for neurodegenerative disease
Amyloid fibrils play a crucial role in neurodegenerative illnesses. Scientists from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and Forschungszentrum Jülich have now been able to use cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to decode the spatial structure of the fibrils that are formed from PI3K SH3 domains - an important model system for research.

Temple researchers: Sorting protein in neurons defends against neurodegenerative disease
Like a sorting machine in an assembly line, a molecule known as VPS35 detects and removes defective proteins from neurons.

How mutations lead to neurodegenerative disease
Scientists have discovered how mutations in DNA can cause neurodegenerative disease.

Read More: Neurodegenerative Disease News and Neurodegenerative Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.