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Clin Neurophysiol. 2005 Nov;116(11):2685-92. Epub 2005 Oct 6.

Sleep breathing and periodic leg movement pattern in Angelman Syndrome: a polysomnographic study.

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  • 1Sleep Research Centre, Oasi Institute for Research on Mental Retardation and Brain Aging (IRCCS), Troina, Italy.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the sleep breathing patterns and to detect the eventual presence of periodic leg movements (PLMs) in patients affected by Angelman syndrome (AS).


Ten children with AS were recruited to participate in the study; the clinical diagnosis was confirmed by the genetic analysis (maternal 15q deletion, uniparental paternal disomy, or mutation of the UBE3A gene). All patients but two had presented epileptic seizures. Two age-matched groups of patients with mental retardation (MR) associated (MRE+) or not (MRE-) to epilepsy were used as control groups. All subjects underwent one polysomnographic recording, after one adaptation night. Sleep stages were scored according to standard criteria slightly modified in order to take into account the specific EEG patterns of AS, also the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) was quantified; PLMs were identified and the PLM index (PLMI) was computed. The statistical analysis was carried out by means of the one-way ANOVA, followed by the Fisher LSD post-hoc test, when appropriate, and by means of the linear correlation coefficient between AHI and PLMI.


Sleep macrostructure showed only few significant differences between children with AS and the other two groups of subjects: AS patients showed higher percentage of wakefulness after sleep onset and sleep onset latency; moreover, the percentage of REM sleep was reduced in AS and in MRE+ subjects. A tendency for AS subjects to present a higher PLMI than the other two groups was also found. AHI >5 was found in 30% of AS subjects, in 30.8% of MRE+, and only in 20% of MRE- patients (chi(2) = 2.359, NS); 70% of AS patients, 38.5% of MRE+, and 46.7% of MRE- subjects had PLMI >5 (chi(2) = 3.088, NS).


These results confirm our previous questionnaire-based findings of a high prevalence of sleep breathing disorder and important PLMs in AS and allow us to hypothesize that epilepsy, rather than mental retardation, might exacerbate these sleep disorders.


Sleep breathing disorder and PLMs might contribute to the cognitive impairment and to the worsening of life quality of subjects with AS and with MR (mostly those with epilepsy). Therefore, our findings suggest the need to explore these sleep disorders in children affected by MR and to set up a correct treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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