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Rinsho Shinkeigaku. 1998 May;38(5):457-60.

[Screaming during sleep in patients with Parkinson disease].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology, Nara Medical University.


We studied 12 patients with Parkinson disease who scream while sleeping. All 12 patients showed clinical manifestations and brain images of typical idiopathic Parkinson disease. On average, the screaming began 4.8 years after the onset signs and symptoms of Parkinson disease. In many cases, sleep talking started before the onset of Parkinson disease. All patients reported that the screaming disrupted the sleep of their families, and half of the patients reported that the screams disturbed their own sleep. The screams were incorporated into their dreams. Clonazepam was effective to alleviate this screaming in 8 out of 9 cases. We considered this screaming to be caused by similar mechanisms as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder in which muscle atonia characterizing normal REM sleep is absent. The screams were not accompanied by other abnormal behaviors. We postulate that the screaming is a symptom closely related to that of mid or lower brainstem lesion in Parkinson disease because the neural activity of the locus ceruleus or the pudunculopontine nucleus are responsible for muscle atonia in REM sleep.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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