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AAN 2024 | Significance of RBD pathophysiology for neurodegenerative diseases

Aleksandar Videnovic, MD, from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, discusses REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a parasomnia in which patients display movement during often negatively emotionally charged dreams. It has been determined that many patients with this condition go on to develop synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy (MSA), and dementia with Lewy bodies, making RBD a clinically important early marker of neurodegeneration. Dr Videnovic outlines the pathology of RBD, explaining that brainstem connections to peripheral skeletal muscles are disrupted allowing for movement during sleep. As synuclein-mediated neurodegenerative disorders progress into various brain regions, they can cause a dysregulation of circuitry leading to disruption of REM sleep, which in early stages manifests as RBD. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting 2024 in Denver, CO.

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