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AAN 2022 | The diagnosis of parasomnias

Alberto Ramos, MD, FAAN, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, discusses the diagnosis of parasomnias. These disruptive sleep-related disorders can fall under different categories – those that occur during non-REM sleep and those that occur during REM sleep. Dr Ramos describes the typical diagnosis of parasomnias as having a clear clinical examination and thorough history check, followed by an overnight sleep study utilizing polysomnography. In some instances, it is possible to observe behavior during the sleep study – abnormal behaviors like sleepwalking or episodes of sleep terrors are typically expressed in the pediatric population during non-REM sleep. Whereas REM parasomnias are more typically expressed in the middle-aged to older adult population – exhibiting behaviors like acting out dreams due to REM sleep without atonia (RSWA). In a broad sense, Dr Ramos describes that by taking the history and conducting a sleep study on a patient, clinicians can differentiate and diagnose non-REM versus REM parasomnias. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology 2022 Congress in Seattle, WA.