Research Insights

Sleep and PWP

Mehta SH, Morgan JC, Sethi KD. (2008), Sleep disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease: role of dopamine, epidemiology, and clinical scales of assessment. Sleep and PWP , CNS Spectr. 2008 Mar;13 (3 Suppl 4):6-11.

(The full article was available free online at the time of this writing through the pubmed link below.  Click on the "CNS Spectrum" button towards the top right of the page and you should be automatically forwarded to the article.)

This article reviews some general information about sleep in PWP.  The authors briefly reviewed the relatively high prevalence of sleeping difficulties within the PD community (approximately 2 out of 3 patients).    They went into great detail about the many different possible causes of sleep disorders in PD as well as the role that various neurotransmitters (including dopamine) play in one’s sleep/waking cycle and in the sleep difficulties a person may experience.  The authors also discussed that different medications used to treat PD may also contribute to some of the sleeping difficulties (insomnia or sedation) for PWP.  Not only did the authors discuss some of the nighttime sleeping problems (frequent nighttime waking, sleep apnea, etc.) they also brought up that excessive daytime sleepiness occurs in approximately 15-50% of PWP.  The authors listed several tools that clinicians use to measure sleeping difficulties and went through the pros and cons of each measure. Lastly, there was mention of a few studies that have shown that DBS STN has improved total sleeping time, reduced patient self-report of sleeping trouble, and decrease of dystonia upon waking for PWP who have undergone that treatment.  As many will agree, more research needs to be done in the areas of non-motor symptoms (such as sleep disturbance) for PWP.  These authors suggested looking at different dopamine receptors and the role they play in sleep as well as improving research tools and education for patients, clinicians, and family members as they continue  to learn more about and treat symptoms of PD.

Click here to read the abstract.

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