Washington, July 29 (ANI): Sleep disorder may be a sign of dementia or Parkinson's disease up to 50 years before the disorders are diagnosed, says a new study.
Mayo Clinic scientists found identified 27 people who experienced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder for at least 15 years before developing one of three conditions: Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or multiple system atrophy.
Multiple system atrophy is a disorder that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.
The results show that the time between the start of the sleep disorder and the symptoms of the neurological disorders ranged up to 50 years, with an average span of 25 years.
"More research is needed on this possible link so that scientists may be able to develop therapies that would slow down or stop the progression of these disorders years before the symptoms of Parkinson's disease or dementia appear," said study author Bradley F. Boeve, MD, with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The research is published in the July 28, 2010, online issue of Neurology.