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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Apr;28(2):120-40. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e3182120fed.

Primary sleep disorders and paroxysmal nocturnal nonepileptic events in adults with epilepsy from the perspective of sleep specialists.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131, U.S.A.


Sleep specialists are frequently referred adults with epilepsy to evaluate their sleep/wake complaints, sometimes to determine whether their paroxysmal nocturnal behaviors are epileptic or not. Many patients with epilepsy have at least one parasomnia (some more than one), and the sleep specialists are often asked to differentiate and treat these. Sleep specialists review which primary sleep disorders are more common in adults with epilepsy and how to evaluate and best treat these. The authors summarize (1) how to evaluate and differentiate parasomnias using video-polysomnography; (2) the value of sleep deprivation and loud auditory stimuli to increase the likelihood of provoking a non-rapid eye movement arousal parasomnia with a single night of video-polysomnography; and (3) how to score excessive muscle activity during rapid eye movement sleep to confirm a diagnosis of rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. The clinical semiology and video-polysomnography features of simple and complex sleep-related movement disorders and parasomnias are reviewed.

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