Sleep and Parkinson’s

Sleep disruption is a very common feature and directly contributes to poor quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. Sleep disorders have been reported to occur in as many as 97 per cent of people with Parkinson’s disease. In addition to REM behaviour disorder, sleep disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnoea, is present in 40-60 per cent of people with Parkinson’s.

Led by Professor Danny Eckert, Principal Research Scientist and Group Leader of the Sleep and Breathing Lab at NeuRA, a new project will be undertaken over the coming year to perform sleep studies to better understand the role of sleep disruption and sleep disorders in people with Parkinson’s disease.

“The NeuRA Sleep and Breathing team has developed new specialised approaches to determine the specific reasons why people develop the most common sleep-related breathing disorder, sleep apnoea,” says Professor Eckert.

A new project will be undertaken over the coming year to perform sleep studies to better understand the role of sleep disruption and sleep disorders in people with Parkinson’s disease.

“The causes vary between people and are different across different disease states. We don’t know what the specific causes are in people with Parkinson’s disease.”

NeuRA’s unique targeted approach will be used to deliver tailored therapies to improve sleep disruption based on the specific causes identified. This has the potential to improve quality of life and slow disease progression.

NeuRA’s Parkinson’s program is combining research in falls, balance and injury, MRI imaging and sleep and breathing. This allows scientists to bring together important elements of research and therapy combining results into one integrated model, specifically designed to better treat people living with Parkinson’s disease. The integration of these three critical steps – better early detection, effective balance therapy and improving the quality of sleep for people living with Parkinson’s, will significantly improve the overall quality of life of people living with the disease.

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Professor Dannny Eckert with a research participant.

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