Study objective: To assess and compare polygraphic sleep measures and periodic leg movement (PLM) patterns in untreated patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA) and healthy age-matched controls.
Design: Polysomnographic recordings of 2 consecutive nights were performed in 10 patients with PD (mean age 65 years, mean Hoehn and Yahr stage 2.2), 10 patients with MSA (mean age 61 years) and in a control group of 10 healthy subjects (mean age 64 years). All patients and controls were free of antiparkinsonian medication and other centrally active drugs for 2 weeks prior to polysomnography.
Patients or participants: NA.
Results: Sleep measures for the second night showed a significantly lower total sleep time, sleep efficiency and sleep period time in PD and MSA patients compared to healthy controls. PLM-indices during sleep and wakefulness were significantly higher in PD, but not in MSA patients compared to controls. Five patients with PD and 7 patients with MSA, but no control subject, showed abnormal rapid eye movement (REM) sleep features (i.e., REM sleep without atonia or behavioral manifestations typical for REM sleep behavior disorder).
Conclusions: Sleep disruption and increased motor activity during REM and non REM sleep are a frequent finding in PD and MSA. An increased PLM index in untreated PD patients may be due to a dopaminergic deficit and is probably not associated with dopaminergic treatment.