REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is commonly associated with Parkinson disease (PD), but it is unclear whether this association has implications for disease manifestations. We evaluated 36 PD patients for the presence of RBD by polysomnography. Patients underwent an extensive evaluation by a movement disorders specialist blinded to polysomnography results. Severity of motor manifestations, autonomic, visual, psychiatric, and olfactory dysfunctions and quality of life (QOL) were assessed, and compared using regression analysis that adjusted for disease duration, age and sex. Severity of motor manifestations did not differ between groups. However, the presence of RBD in PD was strongly associated with symptoms and signs of orthostatic hypotension (systolic blood pressure lying to standing = -25.7 +/- 13.0 mmHg vs. -4.9 +/-14.1, P < 0.001); and orthostatic symptom prevalence = 71% vs. 27%, P = 0.0076). There was no association between RBD and other autonomic symptoms. Color vision was worse in patients with RBD, but olfactory dysfunction did not differ between groups. The prevalence of depression, hallucinations, paranoia, and impulse disorders did not differ between groups. Emotional functioning and general health QOL measures were lower in those with RBD, but there were no differences between groups on disease-specific indices or on measures of overall physical QOL. These findings suggest that the pathophysiology of RBD and nonmotor manifestations of PD, particularly autonomic dysfunction, are linked.
(c) 2007 Movement Disorder Society.