Thursday, June 22, 2006

REM sleep disorder linked to depression

REM sleep disorder linked to depression

SALT LAKE CITY (UPI) -- The onset of rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, or RBD, at a young age appears to be connected to anti-depressant use, says a U.S. study.

RBD is a sleep disorder where patients act out their dreams that results from a loss of normal muscle paralysis in rapid eye movement sleep, the dream stage of sleep, which normally prevents enacting one's dreams, according to Dr. Maja Tippmann-Peikert, a sleep medicine specialist and neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"Our findings suggest that RBD in younger patients -- in the 30s instead of the usual age of the 50s or older -- is frequently linked to anti-depressant use," says study leader Dr. R. Robert Auger, a Mayo Clinic sleep medicine specialist and psychiatrist.

"I'd interpret this to mean one of three things: 1) in younger patients, anti-depressants can cause RBD, or 2) in younger patients, RBD results in psychiatric diagnoses that then result in anti-depressant prescriptions, or 3) a common factor is causing both the RBD and the psychiatric diagnoses, which in turn results in anti-depressant prescriptions."

The findings are being presented Monday at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies' SLEEP 2006 meeting in Salt Lake City.

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