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Keywords:

  • rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • autonomic

Abstract

Background:

Recent studies have suggested a close connection between autonomic dysfunction and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, which differs in nature from other early-stage markers of Parkinson's disease. In this study we examined the relationship between rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder and autonomic dysfunction in Parkinson's disease as measured by cardiac beat-to-beat variability.

Methods:

In 53 patients with Parkinson's disease and 36 controls, electrocardiographic trace from a polysomnogram was assessed for measures of beat-to-beat RR variability including RR-standard deviation and frequency domains (low- and high-frequency components). Results were compared between patients with Parkinson's disease and controls, and between patients with Parkinson's disease with and without rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder.

Results:

On numerous cardiac autonomic measures, patients with Parkinson's disease showed clear abnormalities compared with controls. However, these abnormalities were confined only to those patients with associated rapid eye movement sleep behavior; those without were not different than controls.

Conclusions:

As with other clinical autonomic variables, cardiac autonomic denervation is predominantly associated not with Parkinson's disease itself, but with the presence of rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society