Parkinson’s disease sign when you sleep that may be an early warning – new study
PARKINSON’S disease occurs when parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. Around the UK, thousands of people are living with Parkinson’s and the slow decline the disease wrecks on the body. New research suggests an early warning sign could come when people are asleep.
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Around 145,000 people in the UK currently live with Parkinson’s. According to charity Parkinson’s UK: “Every hour, two more people will be diagnosed. The same as 18,000 people every year.” Recent data suggests one in 37 people will develop Parkinson’s in their lifetime. Due to Parkinson’s increasing prevalence it is crucial to know the symptoms and what to spot; one of these symptoms could occur when a person is unconscious.
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Researchers from the University of Birmingham say older adults who start to experience bad dreams or nightmares could be exhibiting the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease.
Published in the journal eClinicalMedicine, the data suggested older men who frequently experience bad dreams were twice as likely to be later diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Speaking about the study, lead author Dr Abidemi Otaiku said: “Although it can be really beneficial to diagnose Parkinson’s disease early, there are very few risk indicators and many of these require expensive hospital tests or are very common and non-specific, such as diabetes.
“While we need to carry out further research in this area, identifying the significance of bad dreams and nightmares could indicate that individuals who experience changes to their dreams in older age should seek medical advice.”
This data contained data of over 3,800 older men over a period of 12 years.
Researchers say the study shows how dreams can reveal crucial information about the health of the brain and its structure.
Having identified this link, the next step is to try and identify the biological reasons for the dream changes.