A Neurologist's Guide to REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

Amber Roguski, Dane Rayment, Alan Whone, Matthew Jones, Michal Rolinski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
476 Downloads (Pure)


REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) is a chronic sleep condition characterized by dream enactment and loss of REM atonia. Individuals often present to clinic with complaints of injury to themselves or their bed-partner due to violent movements during sleep. RBD patients have a high risk of developing one of the neurodegenerative α-synucleinopathy diseases: over 70% will develop parkinsonism or dementia within 12 years of their diagnosis. RBD patients also exhibit accelerated disease progression and a more severe phenotype than α-synucleinopathy sufferers without RBD. The disease's low prevalence and the relatively limited awareness of the condition amongst medical professionals makes the diagnosis and treatment of RBD challenging. Uncertainty in patient management is further exacerbated by a lack of clinical guidelines for RBD patient care. There are no binary prognostic markers for RBD disease course and there are no clinical guidelines for neurodegeneration scaling or tracking in these patients. Both clinicians and patients are therefore forced to deal with uncertain outcomes. In this review, we summarize RBD pathology and differential diagnoses, diagnostic, and treatment guidelines as well as prognostic recommendations with a look to current research in the scientific field. We aim to raise awareness and develop a framework for best practice for RBD patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number610
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2020


  • REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
  • Parkinson's disease
  • prodromal Parkinson's disease
  • sleep
  • clinical


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