Sleep disorders in Machado–Joseph disease

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Purpose of review

This article provides a description on clinical features and pathophysiology of the main sleep disorders observed in Machado–Joseph disease (MJD).

Recent findings

Pathological studies have clearly demonstrated that degenerative process in MJD is widespread in the nervous system, and not restricted to the cerebellum. Nonmotor manifestations are frequent and may include pain, cramps, dysautonomia, cognitive deficits, psychiatric manifestations, olfactory deficits, fatigue, nutritional issues, and sleep disorders.


Sleep disorders are frequent in MJD, and include restless legs syndrome, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, sleep apnea, periodic limb movements during sleep, parasomnia, and others. Pathophysiological mechanisms related to sleep disorders in Machado–Joseph are complex and poorly understood. Considering that sleep complaints are a treatable condition, recognizing sleep disorders in MJD is relevant.

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