Signal for early onset of Parkinson`s

Sydney: You may not have realised it but if you kick or punch at night while asleep, it may be a signal for an early onset of Parkinson`s disease.

Simon Lewis, neurologist at The University of Sydney`s Brain and Mind Research Institute, says people don`t realise that Parkinson`s disease (PD) can have many different early manifestations.

"Possibly the most dramatic of its symptoms, however is known as Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behaviour Disorder. Parkinson patients have been known to start acting out in their dreams, often punching or kicking the person sharing their bed," he says.

"For some Parkinson patients it comes as a revelation and relief, not to mention their spouses, that the condition may be responsible for things that go `bump` or `kick` in the night," says Lewis, according to a Mind Research Institute statement.

Interestingly, although best known for its physical symptoms like slowness and tremor, Parkinson`s disease is often preceded by a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms like mood change, loss of smell, constipation and sleep disorders.

Problems with thinking and memory are also common in Parkinson`s disease with patients being six times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

The Brain and Mind Research Institute has launched the First Steps programme, intended to inform people who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson`s.


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