Skip to content
Lewy Body Journal: Our Family's Experience with Lewy Body Disease
Home What LBD Is Journal Other Stories Information Links Contact
List of Features

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Can Precede LBD by Decades

We previously reported about the relationship between REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and LBD. People who have RBD strike out violently, often yelling, when they enter REM sleep. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic had found that all those with RBD developed Lewy bodies and had a high probability of later developing Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease, or multiple system atrophy (a Parkinson's-like disorder). The interval between the onset of RBD and the onset of neurological disease can be long, and Mayo Clinic researchers have now looked at how long the interval can be.

The researchers analyzed Mayo Clinic records to find patients who had RBD and then developed neurological disease at least 15 years later. They located 27 patients who met the criteria. (Of the 27 patients, only three were women, again showing that RBD affects mostly men.) The median interval between onset of RBD and the onset of the neurological disorder was 25 years. For six of the patients, the sleep disorder was first noticed by their spouse on their honeymoon or shortly afterward. In one case, RBD preceded Parkinson's disease by 50 years.

Possibly, then, RBD can be a very early sign of a developing neurological disorder. When an effective preventative for LBD is devised, it could be given at the first sign of RBD.

Find out more from the news story and the scientific abstract from the journal Neurology.

Home What LBD Is Journal Other Stories Information Links Contact