Is sleepwalking linked to risk of Parkinson’s disease in men?

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Author: Saskia MairPublished: 13 May 2021

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A man's legs are shown walking from a dark room.

Men who sleepwalk may be at a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study from researchers in the US.

The team assessed Mayo Clinic sleep questionnaire survey answers from 25,694 men, 1% of whom had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. They found that men who experienced sleepwalking were four times more likely to have Parkinson’s, and those with probable REM sleep behaviour disorder – a condition where sleepers experience sudden body movements while dreaming – were six times more likely. For those who experienced both sleepwalking and REM sleep behaviour disorder, the risk increased to eight times more likely.

“We need further studies to understand this,” said senior author, Dr Xiang Gao. “Particularly to see whether sleepwalking occurs before Parkinson’s onset, and the number of individuals with sleepwalking who eventually develop Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”


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