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Microstructure of the non-rapid eye movement sleep electroencephalogram in patients with newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease: Effects of dopaminergic treatment



We investigated non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep in patients with newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease (PD) who had never previously received dopaminergic medication. There were no significant differences in the conventional sleep parameters between de novo patients with PD and a healthy control group, but the length of stage 1 sleep and the number of awakenings increased significantly upon administration of dopaminergic drugs. Analyzing the quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG), we observed a significant reduction in the low-delta frequency range and a nonsignificant increase in the sigma frequency range in de novo patients with PD. The dopaminergic medication also nonsignificantly reduced the low-delta and sigma frequencies, the latter to the level of the controls. Possible mechanisms that may account for the observed differences are discussed. It is suggested that Parkinson's disease as well as the application of dopaminergic drugs exerts a desynchronizing effect on the sleep EEG that is reflected in a disruption of sleep continuity. © 2002 Movement Disorder Society