Cognitive and neuropsychiatric profiles in idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder and parkinson’s disease

Francesca Assogna, Claudio Liguori, Luca Cravello, Lucia Macchiusi, Claudia Belli, Fabio Placidi, Mariangela Pierantozzi, Alessandro Stefani, Bruno Mercuri, Francesca Izzi, Carlo Caltagirone, Nicola B. Mercuri, Francesco E. Pontieri, Gianfranco Spalletta, Clelia Pellicano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease (PD) and may represent its prodromal state. We compared neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric phenotypes of idiopathic (i) RBD, PD and healthy comparators (HC) in order to identify iRBD specific characteristics. Thirty-eight patients with iRBD, 38 PD patients with RBD (PD + RBD), 38 PD patients without RBD (PD-RBD) and 38 HC underwent a comprehensive neurological, neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric evaluation. iRBD, PD + RBD and PD-RBD performed worse than HC in short-term verbal memory, praxia, language and executive functions. iRBD had higher levels of anxiety, depression, apathy and alexithymia than HC. iRBD had higher levels of apathy than PD + RBD. Both PD groups had higher levels of anxiety and depression than HC. Surprisingly, iRBD performed better than all groups in long-term verbal memory. Patients diagnosed with iRBD are characterized by poor global cognitive performance, but better long-term memory and higher levels of depression, anxiety, alexithymia and apathy. Alexithymia and apathy in patients diagnosed with iRBD may be the expression of precocious derangement of emotional regulation, subsequently observed also in PD. Cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms of iRBD are early clinical manifestations of widespread neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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