Researchers are not sure why spontaneous and unexplained disturbance in REM sleep should lead to a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinsons
Presenting their research at the US Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imagings 2014 Annual Meeting, new longitudinal imaging data show a clear correlation between idiopathic REM behavior disorder and dysfunction of the dopamine transporter system involved in a wide range of vital brain functions, including memory and motor control.
A total of 21 consecutive patients with no known Parkinsonism or cognitive decline were enrolled in the long-term study between 2004 and 2006 and were followed after about 8 years. A baseline SPECT scan of dopamine transporter function was performed with the radiopharmaceutical I-123 FP-CIT as an imaging agent. A follow-up scan was performed to assess progression of neurodegenerative disease.
Results showed that after follow-up, patients SPECT scans revealed substantial decreases in radiotracer binding to the dopamine transport system in the nigrostriatal regions of the brain. A lack of tracer binding in these regions of the brain is closely linked to neuronal degeneration and the development of dementia and movement disorders.
Source: The Freepress Journal