Home Medizin Studie findet Zusammenhang zwischen Gangstörungen und Schlafstörungen bei Parkinson-Patienten

Studie findet Zusammenhang zwischen Gangstörungen und Schlafstörungen bei Parkinson-Patienten

von NFI Redaktion

Patients with Parkinson’s disease experiencing freezing of gait (sudden inability to initiate or continue a movement, often leading to a fall) wake up multiple times during the night, feel sleepy during the day, and suffer from REM sleep behavior disorder. REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) plays a role in maintaining many cognitive processes.

These are the key findings of a study supported by FAPESP and conducted by researchers from São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil and Grenoble Alps University (UGA) in France. An article on the study is published in the journal Sleep Medicine.

In a systematic review of 20 studies on sleep quality and freezing of gait, the researchers found a correlation between these two important symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They emphasize the importance of evaluating and monitoring the correlation in patients and believe that the insights can contribute to the development of new treatment protocols.

There was a suspicion that the two phenomena are related, and our analysis of the literature seemed to confirm this hypothesis. The reason for this is that freezing of gait has a similar physiopathology to sleep quality. Studies show that patients with one symptom and patients with the other have brain damage in the Pedunculopontine Nucleus, a group of neurons in the brainstem connected to the basal ganglia.

– Fabio Barbieri, one of the article authors

He heads the Human Movement Research Laboratory (MOVI-LAB) and leads a project called „Ativa Parkinson,“ where patients are offered free physical activities twice a week on the Bauru Campus of UNESP.

However, scientists are still unsure whether freezing of gait or poor sleep quality comes first. „Studies suggest a probability of over 95% that a patient experiencing freezing episodes also suffers from a sleep disorder, but it has been observed that a significant deterioration in sleep quality is a sign that the patient could also experience freezing episodes,“ he added. „The two symptoms are related, and we have not yet determined which occurs first,“ he said.


Parkinson’s disease affects sleep in general, regardless of whether the patient experiences gait disturbances. In an unpublished study, Barbieri’s group and collaborators at UGA compared the effect of medications on sleep quality. „We found that sleep quality deteriorated when dopaminergic medications were withdrawn for sleep,“ he said.

There is no specific treatment for freezing of gait, although it is one of the main causes of falls in Parkinson’s patients. Along with tremor and cognitive impairments, freezing is one of the factors that affect the quality of life of these patients. „Freezing does not represent an advanced stage of the disease, and not all patients have the symptom, but we have confirmed that it affects sleep quality,“ Barbieri said.

The systematic review allowed researchers to summarize studies and insights on the connections between gait disturbances and sleep disorders, explained Barbieri. „For example, we noticed that most studies used indirect criteria to assess sleep quality derived from questionnaires. We found only two studies that directly measured it using polysomnography. The same applied to freezing of gait, which is typically diagnosed using questionnaires. For this reason, we are launching a new study in collaboration with researchers in the United States to try and directly monitor freezing of gait,“ he said.


São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

Journal Reference:

Milane, T., et al. (2024). Comparison of sleep characteristics between Parkinson’s disease with and without freezing of gait: A systematic review. Sleep Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2023.11.021.

Related Posts

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.