Prevalence of REM sleep behavior disorder

The overall prevalence of RBD remains largely unknown. A large telephone survey using the Sleep-EVAL system for assessing violent behaviors during sleep in the general population (4972 individuals aged 15-100 years) in the United Kingdom suggested an estimated prevalence of RBD of about 0.5% (Ohayon et al., 1997). A study of 1034 elderly subjects aged 70 years or above in the Hong Kong area found an estimated prevalence of polysomnography (PSG)-confirmed RBD of 0.38% (Chiu et al., 2000). There is a male predominance (87%) with primarily men over the age of 50 being affected (Schenck & Mahowald, 2002). Boeve summarized the demographics and clinical phenomenology of RBD (Table 1) (Boeve, 2010a).

Male gender predilection

Age of onset typically 40-70 years (range 15-80 years)

Abnormal vocalisations -orating, yelling, swearing, screaming

Abnormal motor behavior- limb flailing, punching, kicking, lurching out of bed

Altered dream mentation - typically involves a chasing/attacking theme with insects, animals or other humans being the aggressors arid tlie patient being the defender

Exhibited behaviors mirror dream content

Behaviors tend to occur in tlie latter half of the sleep period

Table 1. Demographics and clinical phenomenology of RBD (Modified from Boeve, 2010a)

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