Sleep and periodic leg movement patterns in drug-free patients with Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy

Sleep. 2000 May 1;23(3):361-7.


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.

Setting: NA.

Patients or participants: NA.

Interventions: 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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electromyography
  • Electrooculography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple System Atrophy*
  • Parkinson Disease*
  • Polysomnography
  • Restless Legs Syndrome*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • Tibia / physiology
  • Wakefulness / physiology