Background/aims: Sleep disturbances are common in the elderly and in persons with cognitive decline. The aim of this study was to describe frequency and characteristics of insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep-disordered breathing, REM behavior disorder and restless legs syndrome in a large cohort of persons with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
Methods: 431 consecutive patients were enrolled in 10 Italian neurological centers: 204 had Alzheimer's disease, 138 mild cognitive impairment, 43 vascular dementia, 25 frontotemporal dementia and 21 Lewy body dementia or Parkinson's disease dementia. Sleep disorders were investigated with a battery of standardized questions and questionnaires.
Results: Over 60% of persons had one or more sleep disturbances almost invariably associated one to another without any evident and specific pattern of co-occurrence. Persons with Alzheimer's disease and those with mild cognitive impairment had the same frequency of any sleep disorder. Sleep-disordered breathing was more frequent in vascular dementia. REM behavior disorder was more represented in Lewy body or Parkinson's disease dementia.
Conclusion: A careful clinical evaluation of sleep disorders should be performed routinely in the clinical setting of persons with cognitive decline. Instrumental supports should be used only in selected patients.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.