REM sleep behaviour disorder: An update on a series of 96 patients and a review of the world literature

C. H. Schenck, T. D. Hurwitz, M. W. Mahowald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Scopus citations


REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is an injurious clinical disorder of attempted dream-enactment ('oneirism') in humans which has a corresponding experimental animal model involving dorsolateral pontine tegmental lesions in cats. To date, our sleep disorders centre has collected data on 96 chronic RBD cases which can be compared with pooled data on 70 chronic RBD cases from other centres contained in 26 reports published in the world literature since 1985, when our initial cases were first reported. The data from our centre and from other centres demonstrate a male predominance in RBD (87.5% vs 63.5%); indicate a similar mean age of RBD onset (52.4 y vs 55.9 y); contain substantial numbers of diverse central nervous system disorders causally associated with RBD (47.9% vs 60.0%); and identify clonazepam treatment as being very effective in controlling both the (violent) dream and sleep behavioural disturbances of RBD. Our centre's data additionally reveal an 80% prevalence of elevated stage 3/4 (slow-wave) sleep for age in RBD, and reveal a frequent presence of periodic and aperiodic limb movements during NREM sleep. Thus, RBD in humans is a complex syndrome in which there is generalized REM and NREM sleep% motor dyscontrol, as was originally observed in the animal RBD model by Jouvet and Delorme in 1965.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-231
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder
  • clonazepam
  • dream disorders
  • motor dyscontrol
  • paradoxical sleep without atonia
  • parasomnias
  • slow-wave (delta-wave) sleep


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