Neuropsychological and emotional characteristics of parasomnia patients
M. Ntafouli1,2, A. Bonakis3, P. Bargiotas4, C.L. Bassetti2, D. Dikeos1
1Sleep Research Unit, First Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece,2Sleep-Wake-Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurology, University Hospital (Inselspital) and University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 3Second Department of Neurology, «Attikon» University Hospital, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece, 4Department of Neurology, Medical School, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Introduction: Parasomnias are defined as unpleasant or undesirable physical events or experiences that occur predominantly or exclusively during sleep or during arousals from sleep. Parasomnias are classified according to the state they predominantly occur in rapid eye movement (REM)-related parasomnias and non-REM (NREM)-related parasomnias. Although parasomnias are nightime phenomena, there are indications that they may also have an impact during the daytime through a variety of manifestations. The aim of the study is the investigation of neuropsychological and emotional profiles of parasomnia patients.
Methods: We have recruited 30 patients diagnosed with parasomnia (REM or NREM) and 30 healthy controls. Patients were assessed for one night by performing a polysomnography and by sleep interview; standardized questionnaires were used to assess neuropsychological and emotional measures for all participants.
Results: Among the patients 17 had a REM parasomnia and 13 had a NREM parasomnia. The majority (91.7%) of patients were males. The mean age of the patients was 52.7 years (SD=20.5). The majority of the controls were males (90%). The mean age of the controls was 53.3 years (SD=10.6).Patients diagnosed with parasomnias, compared to healthy controls, seem to have difficulties on visual scanning, attention and processing speed (TMT A) p=0.001; to be more depressed (BDI & DASS scale) p<0.001; to experience more anxiety and stress (DASS) (p <0.001)and to be more worried (PSWQ) (p<0.001). Also, patients with parasomnias scored higher on attentional and motor impulsiveness (BIS-11) (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Parasomnia patients manifest neuropsychological and emotional alterations compered to healthy controls. These findings are of importance in understanding the daytime profile of patients with parasomnias.