Motor events during REM sleep in patients with narcolepsy-cataplexy: A video-polysomnographic pilot study

Christian Franceschini, Raffaele Ferri, Fabio Pizza, Lara Ricotta, Stefano Vandi, Stefania Detto, Francesca Poli, Carlo Pruneti, Michela Mazzetti, Carlo Cipolli, Elio Lugaresi, Giuseppe Plazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We carried out a systematic video-polysomnographic analysis of the number and type of motor events during REM sleep in narcolepsy-cataplexy patients with REM sleep behavior disorder (NC + RBD) but not clinical RBD (NC - RBD). Methods: Twelve NC + RBD and 10 NC - RBD male patients underwent video-polysomnography (video-PSG). Motor events of different type and complexity (i.e., elementary and complex movements and vocalizations) occurring during REM sleep were visually assessed, and indices of their frequency per hour of REM sleep were calculated. Subsequently, the index values were compared in NC + RBD versus NC - RBD patients. Results: Typical RBD behaviors observed in five NC + RBD patients were not included in any type of motor events. No objective conventional sleep parameter, including visual analysis of chin electromyographic (EMG) activity, significantly differed between the two groups of NC patients. NC + RBD patients showed higher occurrence of elementary movements (p=0.034) during REM sleep compared with NC - RBD patients, but the occurrence of complex movements did not differ significantly. Conclusions: Video-analysis of motor events during REM sleep may improve the diagnosis of RBD in NC. RBD in NC patients is mainly characterized by elementary rather than complex movements, consistent with the view that RBD with NC patients displays a distinct phenotype with respect to other RBD patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Dream enactment
  • Narcolepsy-cataplexy
  • REM sleep
  • REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Simple and complex motor events
  • Video-PSG recording
  • Vocalizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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