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Isolated REM sleep behaviour disorder: current diagnostic procedures and emerging new technologies


Bramich, S and King, A and Kuruvilla, M and Naismith, SL and Noyce, A and Alty, J, Isolated REM sleep behaviour disorder: current diagnostic procedures and emerging new technologies, Journal of Neurology, 269, (9) pp. 4684-4695. ISSN 0340-5354 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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© The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00415-022-11213-9


Isolated REM sleep behaviour disorder (iRBD) is characterised by dream enactment behaviours, such as kicking and punching while asleep, and vivid/violent dreams. It is now acknowledged as a prodromal phase of neurodegenerative disease—approximately 80% of people with iRBD will develop dementia with Lewy Bodies, Parkinson’s disease or another degenerative brain disease within 10 years. It is important that neurologists and other clinicians understand how to make an early accurate diagnosis of iRBD so that affected people can have the opportunity to take part in clinical trials. However, making a diagnosis can be clinically challenging due to a variety of reasons, including delayed referral, symptom overlap with other disorders, and uncertainty about how to confirm a diagnosis. Several methods of assessment are available, such as clinical interview, screening questionnaires and video polysomnography or ‘sleep study’. This review aims to support clinical neurologists in assessing people who present with symptoms suggestive of iRBD. We describe the usefulness and limitations of each diagnostic method currently available in clinical practice, and present recent research on the utility of new wearable technologies to assist with iRBD diagnosis, which may offer a more practical assessment method for clinicians. This review highlights the importance of thorough clinical investigation when patients present with suspected iRBD and emphasises the need for easier access to diagnostic procedures for accurate and early diagnosis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), diagnostic methods, sleep disorders, neurology, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, ageing, technologies
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Neurology and neuromuscular diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Bramich, S (Mrs Samantha Bramich)
UTAS Author:King, A (Professor Anna King)
UTAS Author:Kuruvilla, M (Dr Maneesh Kuruvilla)
UTAS Author:Naismith, SL (Professor Sharon Naismith)
UTAS Author:Alty, J (Associate Professor Jane Alty)
ID Code:150713
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2022-06-25
Last Modified:2023-02-28
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