A new report has revealed that wild thrashing during sleep accompanied by cries can be sign of onset of Parkinson's disease. Professor Claudia Trenkwalder said that disruptions in the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle could be a signal to approaching Parkinson's disease, according to the German journal Psychology Today.
The muscles are normally relaxed and disconnected from motor controls during the R.E.M. sleep cycle, when a person experiences his most intense dreams. But if the R.E.M. cycle is disturbed, connections are remade says Trenkwalder, Medical Director of the Paracelsus-Elena Clinic in the city of Kassel.
Those affected might flay about with their arms and legs, lash out, talk, sing or scream. The behavior is not necessarily linked to an aggressive personality. But such behavior could be dangerous to partners and also to the individual. For example, a person could fall off the bed.
Long-term studies have shown that 80% to 90% of all Parkinson's patients suffer from such sleep disruptions. Often they are a warning sign of Parkinson's disease, which usually manifests itself five to 10 years later, Trenkwalder said.
Parkinson's disease occurs when the brain's nerve cells are destroyed. It has been speculated that during the run of the disease, the centers of the brain that regulate sleep are also attacked.