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Sleep. 1985;8(3):231-8.

Are microarousals preceded by electroencephalographic slow wave synchronization precursors of confusional awakenings?


The number of microarousals preceded by electroencephalographic (EEG) slow wave synchronization (MAS) and the number not preceded by EEG slow wave synchronization (K-complexes and/or delta groups) (MA) were analyzed during the first night of sleep in nine young patients with somnambulism and/or sleep terrors and in eight age- and sex-matched controls. While MAs peaked in REM ad intermediate sleep, MASs appeared as a phenomenon of NREM sleep, peaking in stage 2. The number of MASs was significantly greater in all stages of NREM sleep in the patient group, but number and distribution of MAs did not differ between the two groups. In the patient group, the MASs occurred in slow wave sleep (stages 3-4 of each sleep cycle); in controls, MASs occurred infrequently. MASs were frequently associated with automatic chewing movements. The higher frequency of microarousals in the patient group did not result in an increase in time awake during the night. The increase in number of microarousals supports Broughton's hypothesis of the presence of some "arousal disorder" in somnambulism and/or sleep terrors. MASs may be predictive markers of ensuing confusional awakenings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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