REM sleep behavior disorder and dementia: cognitive differences when compared with AD.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the dementia associated with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) differs from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and, if so, whether differences in cognitive performance between RBD/dementia and AD resemble reported differences between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and AD.

METHODS: This retrospective study compares neurocognitive performance between 31 patients with degenerative dementia and polysomnography-confirmed RBD and 31 patients without brainstem Lewy body pathology who met Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD) clinical and neuropathologic criteria for AD. The patient groups did not differ in dementia severity (based on Global Deterioration Scale score) or duration.

RESULTS: RBD preceded or coincided with the onset of cognitive decline in 94% of the patients. All but one patient with RBD/dementia had one or more of the following clinical features of DLB: visual hallucinations, extrapyramidal signs, or fluctuating cognition/alertness. The data revealed significantly worse performance on attention, perceptual organization, visual memory, and letter fluency for the RBD/dementia group, whereas the AD group showed significantly worse performance on confrontation naming and verbal memory.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with RBD and degenerative dementia demonstrate a significantly different pattern of cognitive performance from patients with AD. Most of the patients in the RBD/dementia sample also meet criteria for possible or probable DLB, and the pattern of cognitive differences from AD is similar to reported comparisons between DLB and AD. The cognitive and clinical data provide evidence to suggest that the dementia associated with RBD may represent DLB.

Source: Neurology 1999 Mar 23;52(5):951-7

PMID: 10102411, UI: 99200534

(Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, USA. )

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