Neurochemical Research

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 421–427 | Cite as

Are Sleep Disturbances Preclinical Markers of Parkinson’s Disease?

  • Altair B. dos Santos
  • Kristi A. Kohlmeier
  • George E. BarretoEmail author


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by motor symptoms and signs, and non-motor abnormalities such as olfactory dysfunction, pain, sleep disorders and cognitive impairment. Amongst these alterations, sleep disturbances play an important role in the pathology, but presence of disturbed sleep is not currently considered in diagnosis. However, sleeping problems may precede by many years the classic motor abnormalities of PD and should be clinically evaluated as a potential marker before disease onset. The first disturbance reported with this potential was the disorder REM sleep behaviour and currently several other disturbances have gained importance as potential markers, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome and new evidence also points to changes in circadian rhythms. Here we present a brief review of the major evidence indicating that sleep disturbances precede the motor symptoms in PD and neurodegeneration occurs in regions that could underlie these phenomena in order to provide support for the conclusion that disturbances of sleep should be considered as valuable preclinical markers for PD.


Parkinson’s disease Sleep disturbances Non-motor signs Preclinical markers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Altair B. dos Santos
    • 1
  • Kristi A. Kohlmeier
    • 2
  • George E. Barreto
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversidade Estadual do Sudoeste da BahiaVitória Da ConquistaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Departmento de Nutrición y Bioquímica, Facultad de CienciasPontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotá DCColombia

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