Cause of severe sleep disorder closely linked to Parkinson''s discovered
Washington, June 16: Researchers at the University of Toronto have identified a potential cause for a severe sleep disorder that could also have implications for Parkinsonâ€™s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
â€śOur research is the first to establish a potential genetic link to human REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD). Thatâ€™s important because between 60 and 80 per cent of people diagnosed with human RBD develop Parkinsonâ€™s disease or other neurodegenerative disorders later in life,â€ť said Dr. John Peever, lead author of the study.
Peeverâ€™s team focused on investigating a genetic cause of RBD because the underlying cause of this disorder is unknown. There is evidence indicating that reduced brain inhibition could cause RBD, so Peeverâ€™s team genetically reduced brain inhibition in mice and then recorded their sleep and muscle activity.
â€śWe found that mice with reduced brain inhibition acted just like human RBD patients and they moved violently during REM sleep,â€ť said Peever.
â€śThis link strongly suggests that patients with RBD may also have impaired brain inhibition.â€ť
Peeverâ€™s research underscores the importance of identifying a cause of RBD as 60 â€“ 80 per cent of RBD sufferers subsequently develop Parkinsonâ€™s.
â€śTreating RBD could have direct implications for understanding and perhaps treating Parkinsonâ€™s disease,â€ť he added.
The study was recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience. (ANI)