As if nightmares alone weren’t enough, a study published in The Lancet revealed that Bad dreams can be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at Birmingham University have found that individuals who have often had bad dreams are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease later as those who have not had such dreams.
Previous studies have shown that people with Parkinson’s have more nightmares and bad dreams than the general population. However, the use of nightmares as a possible indicator of Parkinson’s disease risk has not yet been considered.
Nightmares as a harbinger of diagnosis
Study leader Abidemi Otaiku of the University Center for Human Brain Health said:Although it can be very beneficial to diagnose Parkinson’s disease in time, there are very few risk indicatorsmany of which require costly tests or are very common and non-specific, such as diabetes. “
The research team used data from a large cohort study in the United States, which included data from 3,818 older men over a 12-year period. Participants initially completed a series of questionnaires, one of which included a question about sleep quality. Participants who reported bad dreams at least once a week were followed up at the end of the study to see if they were more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
During the study period, 91 cases of Parkinson’s disease were diagnosed. The researchers found that participants who often had nightmares were twice as likely to develop the disease than those who did not have them. Most cases were diagnosed in the first five years of the study.
It is necessary to research further
The results suggest that older adults who are once diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are likely to begin to feel unwell and have nightmares several years before developing characteristic symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, and slowed movement.
“While further research is needed in this area, finding out the meaning of nightmares and nightmares could suggest that older people who experience changes in their dreams – without any obvious incentive – should should seek medical attention. “ notes Abidemi Otaiku.
The study shows that dreams can reveal important information about the structure and functioning of our brain and can be an important target for neuroscientists. Researchers plan to use electroencephalography (EEG) to determine the biological causes of dream changes. They will also seek to replicate the results in larger and more diverse groups and explore possible links between dreams and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.