Progressive dementia and hypersomnolence with dream-enacting behavior: Oneiric dementia

Academic Article


  • Background: Sleep disorders are associated with several types of degenerative dementias, including Alzheimer and prion diseases. Animal models have demonstrated abolition of rapid eye movement atonia, resulting in dream-enacting complex movements termed oneiric behavior, and patients with fatal familial insomnia may have vivid dreams that intrude on wakefulness. Objective: To describe a new form of progressive dementia with hypersomnia and oneiric behavior. Methods: Neuropsychological and polysomnographic studies of a middle-aged woman with a progressive dementia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and a vertical gaze palsy. Results: Neuropsychological testing revealed decreased verbal fluency, impaired attention and working memory, amnesia, poor recall, and bradyphrenia with hypersomnia. Polysomnography revealed a rapid eye movement behavioral disorder with complete absence of slow wave sleep. Prion protein analysis did not reveal the mutation associated with fatal familial insomnia, and other diagnostic test findings were unrevealing. Conclusion: Our patient had a previously unreported syndrome of progressive dementia associated with rapid eye movement behavioral disorder and the absence of slow wave sleep.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cibula JE; Eisenschenk S; Gold M; Eskin TA; Gilmore RL; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 630
  • End Page

  • 634
  • Volume

  • 59
  • Issue

  • 4