Research has revealed that nightmares may be the first sign of Parkinson’s disease.
Experts found that older men were more likely to develop the condition after they began experiencing bad dreams.
Lead researcher Dr. Abideme Otaiko, from the University of Birmingham’s Center for Human Brain Health, said: “While it can really be beneficial to diagnose Parkinson’s disease at an early stage, there are very few indicators of risk and many require hospital tests that are expensive or extremely common. .
“Determining the meaning of disturbing dreams and nightmares could indicate that individuals who experience changes in their dreams in old age – for no apparent reason – should seek medical advice.”
The study, published in the journal eClinicalMedicine, followed 3,818 older men for 12 years.
The researchers found that participants who often had bad dreams were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who did not.
The nightmares occurred several years before the most common symptoms of the disease, such as tremors, appeared.
There are currently no conclusive controls for Parkinson’s disease, which affects 145,000 Britons and cannot be cured.
The progressive neurological disorder causes brain cells to die, causing a lack of the chemical dopamine, which acts as a messenger to coordinate movement.
The three main symptoms are involuntary shaking of certain parts of the body, slow movements and stiff and inflexible muscles.
Dr. Catherine Fletcher, Director of Research Communications at Parkinson’s Disease UK, said: “We know that many people with Parkinson’s disease have trouble sleeping and at night.
Previous studies have shown that dreams of people with Parkinson’s disease can contain more aggressive content, and are generally more vivid and nightmarish than those of people without the condition. There is also some evidence that bad dreams may be associated with subsequent cognitive decline.
This new study provides further evidence that changes in sleep may be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease, in which case bad dreams are linked to an increased risk of people developing the condition.
“As more is known about the early signs of the condition and how the brain can change, more research will lead to better treatments and treatments.”
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