THE SCARY REM BEHAVIOR DISORDER

This troubling sleep disorder is a condition called REM behavior disorder. This disorder causes the sleepers to physically act out their dreams by kicking, screaming and even falling out of bed. Unfortunately, this disorder is usually not noticed until it causes an injury either to themselves or others.
Dr. Nabeela Nasir, MD, sleep specialist, assistant professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center, would like to raise awareness of this disorder because those who endure this condition can be treated successfully with medications.
“I don’t think we have a clear idea how prevalent it is.” “Patients don’t report it, and doctors don’t ask about it,” says Dr. Nasir in a news release.
Sleep involves transitions between three different states; wakefulness, REM sleep (rapid eye movement associated to dreaming) and N-REM sleep (non-rapid eye movement).
Normally muscles do not move during REM but this temporary paralysis does not occur in patients with REM behavior disorder. The patients will physically act out their vivid dreams they are having, for example, running, fighting and warding off attackers.
REM behavior disorder belongs to a class of sleep disorders called parasomnias, which include the sleep disorders of sleep walking and sleep related eating disorder (person eats while asleep).
This disorder affects an estimated one in every 200 adults with nine out of ten men suffering from this disorder with the vast majority being over 50 years. Many patients eventually develop Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.







Mayo Clinic researchers found that people with REM sleep behavior disorder have twice the risk for developing mild cognitive impairment or Parkinson’s disease. Their study appeared online January 12, 2012 in Annals of Neurology.
Many patients are treated with Clonazepam, which is in a class of medicines called benzodiazepines, which curtails or eliminates the disorder 90% of the time. Melatonin a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles is used for insomnia and being looked at for as a treatment for REM behavior disorder.
Dr. Nasir recommends to safe-proofing the bedroom such as clear the room of furniture and objects that could cause injury and sleep alone if necessary.
The main symptom of REM sleep behavior disorder is dream-enacting behaviors. At times they can be violent causing self-injury or injury to the bed partner. These behaviors can include punching or jumping out of bed while still asleep. Other actions of REM behavior disorder include; kicking, grabbing and sitting up in bed.
If any of these behaviors occur during sleep seek medical attention.

FIRST SIGNS OF PARKINSON’S

Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs may vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.
Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:
Tremor. Your tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may notice a back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger known as a pill-rolling tremor. One characteristic of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor of your hand when it is relaxed (at rest).
Slowed movement (bradykinesia). Over time, Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk, or you may find it difficult to get out of a chair. Also, you may drag your feet as you try to walk, making it difficult to move.
Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause you pain.
Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
Loss of automatic movements. In Parkinson’s disease, you may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk. You may no longer gesture when talking.
Speech changes. You may have speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than with the usual inflections. A speech-language pathologist may help improve your speech problems.
Writing changes. Writing may appear small and become difficult.
Medications may greatly reduce many of these symptoms. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine, a specific signaling chemical (neurotransmitter) in your brain. People with Parkinson’s disease have low brain dopamine concentrations.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs may vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.
Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:
Tremor. Your tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may notice a back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger known as a pill-rolling tremor. One characteristic of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor of your hand when it is relaxed (at rest).
Slowed movement (bradykinesia). Over time, Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk, or you may find it difficult to get out of a chair. Also, you may drag your feet as you try to walk, making it difficult to move.
Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause you pain.
Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
Loss of automatic movements. In Parkinson’s disease, you may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk. You may no longer gesture when talking.
Speech changes. You may have speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than with the usual inflections. A speech-language pathologist may help improve your speech problems.
Writing changes. Writing may appear small and become difficult.
Medications may greatly reduce many of these symptoms. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine, a specific signaling chemical (neurotransmitter) in your brain. People with Parkinson’s disease have low brain dopamine concentrations.






WHAT CAUSES PARKINSON’S DISEASE?

A substance called dopamine acts as a messenger between two brain areas – the substantia nigra and the corpus striatum – to produce smooth, controlled movements. Most of the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are caused by a lack of dopamine due to the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra. When the amount of dopamine is too low, communication between the substantia nigra and corpus striatum becomes ineffective, and movement becomes impaired; the greater the loss of dopamine, the worse the movement-related symptoms. Other cells in the brain also degenerate to some degree and may contribute to non-movement related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Although it is well known that lack of dopamine causes the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it is not clear why the dopamine-producing brain cells deteriorate. Genetic and pathological studies have revealed that various dysfunctional cellular processes, inflammation, and stress can all contribute to cell damage. In addition, abnormal clumps called Lewy bodies, which contain the protein alpha-synuclein, are found in many brain cells of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The function of these clumps in regards to Parkinson’s disease is not understood. In general, scientists suspect that dopamine loss is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.






HOME REMEDIES FOR PARKINSON’S

If you’ve received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, you’ll need to work closely with your doctor to find a treatment plan that offers you the greatest relief from symptoms with the fewest side effects. Certain lifestyle changes may also help make living with Parkinson’s disease easier.
-Healthy eating
Eat a nutritionally balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating foods high in fiber and drinking an adequate amount of fluids can help prevent constipation that is common in Parkinson’s disease.
A balanced diet also provides nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, that may be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease.
-Exercise
Exercising may increase your muscle strength, flexibility and balance. Exercise can also improve your well-being and reduce depression or anxiety.
Your doctor may suggest you work with a physical therapist to learn an exercise program that works for you. You may also try exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, water aerobics or stretching.
Parkinson’s disease can disturb your sense of balance, making it difficult to walk with a normal gait. Exercise may improve your balance. These suggestions may also help:
Try not to move too quickly.
Aim for your heel to strike the floor first when you’re walking.
If you notice yourself shuffling, stop and check your posture. It’s best to stand up straight.
Look in front of you, not directly down, while walking.
-Avoiding falls
In the later stages of the disease, you may fall more easily. In fact, you may be thrown off balance by just a small push or bump. The following suggestions may help:
Make a U-turn instead of pivoting your body over your feet.
Keep your center of gravity over your feet without leaning or reaching.
Avoid carrying things while you walk.
Avoid walking backward.
-Daily living activities
Daily living activities — such as dressing, eating, bathing and writing — can be difficult for people with Parkinson’s disease. An occupational therapist can show you techniques that make daily life easier.






PHYSICAL CAUSES OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health problems can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. For instance, a minor physical problem that slows your sexual response may cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
In most cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include:
-Heart disease
-Clogged blood vessels
(atherosclerosis)
-High cholesterol
-High blood pressure
-Diabetes
-Obesity
-Metabolic syndrome
, a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
-Parkinson’s disease
-Multiple sclerosis
-Low testosterone
-Peyronie’s disease
, development of scar tissue inside the penis
-Certain prescription medications
-Tobacco use
-Alcoholism
and other forms of substance abuse
-Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
-Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord






WHAT ARE DOPAMINE AGONISTS?

Dopamine agonists are drugs that do not convert to dopamine in the brain, but instead mimic the effect of dopamine on the brain. Dopamine agonists supplement function that has been lost as dopamine-producing neurons die.
While some dopamine agonists have been around for years, new dopamine agonists have been developed that attempt to better manage side effects.
Dopamine agonists can be used alone or in combination with Levodopa/Carbidopa.
Pros
Dopamine agonists cause motor fluctuations, including dyskinesias, less frequently than Levodopa/Carbidopa.
No protein effects as seen with Levodopa/Carbidopa.
Agonists offer potential for alternate forms of delivery (such as a skin patch) that may offer certain advantages over oral administration.
Cons and Complications
Dopamine agonists have not been shown to slow the progression of the disease.
Dopamine agonists are not as effective as Levodopa/Carbidopa for the treatment of motor symptoms.
They may also cause other side effects including daytime sleepiness, sudden unanticipated sleep (“sleep attacks”), hallucinations and risk-taking behavior, such as gambling and sexual obsessions.
Not effective at treating all symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Posture, depression and cognitive problems are not responsive to dopamine agonists.






Risk Factors for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include:
Age. Young adults rarely experience Parkinson’s disease. It ordinarily begins in middle or late life, and the risk increases with age. People usually develop the disease around age 60 or older.
Heredity. Having a close relative with Parkinson’s disease increases the chances that you’ll develop the disease. However, your risks are still small unless you have many relatives in your family with Parkinson’s disease.
Sex. Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than are women.
Exposure to toxins. Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may put you at a slightly increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Video: Autonomic Nervous System






Revolutionary Treatment for Parkinson’s

UK scientists believe they created a groundbreaking form of therapy that could revolutionize the way Parkinson’s disease is treated.
One of the patients involved in the gene-therapy trial, Sheila Roy, says it was like turning back the clock 10 years.

She is one of only 15 people worldwide to have had the new treatment, which effectively creates a medicine factory in her brain.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain gradually stops producing the nerve-controlling chemical dopamine. Over time, symptoms such as tremors, slow movement and stiffness get worse.
ProSavin, the new treatment, uses a “stripped-down” virus to transport dopamine-making genes into the brain. It is injected into a region called the striatum that helps control movement.
Once the virus gets into the brain cells, it reprograms them to gradually start producing their own dopamine.






Clean your Brain with a Good SLEEP!

It’s no secret that too little shut-eye can drain your brain, but scientists haven’t fully understood why.
Now, a new study suggests that a good night’s sleep leaves you feeling sharp and refreshed because a newly discovered system that scrubs away neural waste is mostly active when you’re at rest.
It’s a revelation that could not only transform scientists’ fundamental understanding of sleep, but also point to new ways to treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, which are linked to the accumulation of toxins in the brain.
One of the waste products of the brain is the protein amyloid-beta, which accumulates and forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis had previously shown that levels of amyloid-beta in mice brains dropped during sleep because of a decrease in production of the protein.






Healthy eating to fight Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement.
Eat a nutritionally balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating foods high in fiber and drinking an adequate amount of fluids can help prevent constipation that is common in Parkinson’s disease. A balanced diet also provides nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, that may be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease.
If you take a fiber supplement, be sure to introduce it gradually and drink plenty of fluids daily. Otherwise, your constipation may become worse. If you find that fiber helps your symptoms, use it on a regular basis for the best results.