Neuropsychological evaluation of phenoconversion risk in REM sleep behaviour disorder: A scoping review

J Sleep Res. 2023 Oct;32(5):e13873. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13873. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


The objective of this study was to assess the role of cognitive evaluation in the prediction of phenoconversion in polysomnography-confirmed idiopathic or isolated rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, through a scoping review focussing on a longitudinal comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of patients with idiopathic REM sleep behaviour disorder. A literature search (2006-2022) yielded 1034 records, and 20 were selected for analysis. The sample included 899 patients from eight different cohorts and five countries. We extracted data on clinical evolution, mild cognitive impairment diagnosis, neuropsychological tests used, and classification of cognitive domains. Tests, cognitive domains, and mild cognitive impairment definitions were heterogeneous across the studies, precluding a meta-analysis. Ten studies (50%) evaluated the presence of mild cognitive impairment; 14 studies (70%) grouped neuropsychological tests into between three (6 studies, 21.4%) and seven (1 study, 7.1%) cognitive domains. The most frequently used tests were semantic fluency, Stroop colour word test, trail making test A and B, digit span, Rey auditory verbal learning test, and Rey-Osterrieth figure. All except digit span showed a role in predicting phenoconversion. The authors did not consistently assign tests to specific cognitive domains. In conclusion, we discuss methodological differences between the studies and highlight the need for a standardised framework for neuropsychological data acquisition and presentation, based on a multilevel approach covering test selection, domain assignment, and mild cognitive impairment diagnostic criteria.

Keywords: PD-MCI diagnostic criteria; idiopathic REM sleep behaviour disorder (iRBD); longitudinal assessment; mild cognitive impairment (MCI); neuropsychology; phenoconversion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder* / diagnosis
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder* / psychology