Predictive markers for early conversion of iRBD to neurodegenerative synucleinopathy diseases

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To determine the predictive value of clinical assessment and dopamine transporter (DAT) uptake for the early development of neurodegenerative synucleinopathy diseases from idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) over 5 years in a Chinese population.


Forty-three patients with iRBD were administered clinical assessment tests, and 35 were examined by DAT-SPECT imaging during 2011. Cox proportional hazard and Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to evaluate the predictive value of the markers in a follow-up study over 5 years.


Eighteen patients (41.9%) developed neurodegenerative synucleinopathy diseases after a median of 4.1 years of prospective follow-up (median interval of 10.5 years from the estimated onset of iRBD symptoms). Patients with higher scores on the Nonmotor Symptom Questionnaire (hazard ratio [HR] 3.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.15–8.40, p = 0.026) and Scale for Outcomes in Parkinson Disease–Autonomic questionnaire (HR 4.46, 95% CI 1.64–12.10, p = 0.003) were more likely to develop neurodegenerative synucleinopathy diseases. Furthermore, the population with decreased 99mTc-TRODAT-1 binding in the left striatum (HR 2.7, 95% CI 1.02–7.14, p = 0.046) and putamen (HR 3.23, 95% CI 1.16–8.33, p = 0.024) had a relatively higher risk of developing neurodegenerative synucleinopathy diseases.


Our findings elucidate the predictive value of autonomic dysfunction and DAT uptake in identifying patients with iRBD at a high risk of progressing into neurodegenerative synucleinopathy diseases and could form a basis for future disease-prevention trials.

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