Sleepwalking more prevalent among US adults than previously suspected
What goes bump in the night? In many U.S. households: people. That's according to new Stanford University School of Medicine research, which found that about 3.6 percent of U.S. adults are prone to sleepwalking. The work also showed an association between nocturnal wanderings and certain psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
The study, the researchers noted, "underscores the fact that sleepwalking is much more prevalent in adults than previously appreciated."
Maurice Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the lead author of the paper, which will appear in the May 15 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Sleepwalking is a disorder "of arousal from non-REM sleep." While wandering around at night can be harmless and is often played for laughs anyone remember the Simpsons episode where Homer began wandering around and doing silly things in his sleep? sleepwalking can have serious consequences. Episodes can result in injuries to the wanderer or others and lead to impaired psychosocial functioning.
It is thought that medication use and certain psychological and psychiatric conditions can trigger sleepwalking, but the exact causes are unknown. Also unclear to experts in the field is the prevalence.
"Apart from a study we did 10 years ago in the European general population, where we reported a prevalence of 2 percent of sleepwalking," the researchers wrote in their paper, "there are nearly no data regarding the prevalence of nocturnal wanderings in the adult general population. In the United States, the only prevalence rate was published 30 years ago."
For this study, the first to use a large, representative sample of the U.S. general population to demonstrate the number of sleepwalkers, the researchers also aimed to evaluate the importance of medication use and mental disorders associated with sleepwalking. Ohayon and his colleagues secured a sample of 19,136 individuals from 15 states and then used phone surveys to gather information on participants' mental health, medical history and medication use.
Participants were asked specific questions related to sleepwalking, including frequency of episodes during sleep, duration of the sleep disorder and any inappropriate or potentially dangerous behaviors during sleep. Those who didn't report any episodes in the last year were asked if they had sleepwalked during their childhood. Participants were also queried about whether there was a family history of sleepwalking and whether they had other parasomnia symptoms, such as sleep terrors and violent behaviors during sleep.
The researchers determined that as many as 3.6 percent of the sample reported at least one episode of sleepwalking in the previous year, with 1 percent saying they had two or more episodes in a month. Because of the number of respondents who reported having episodes during childhood or adolescence, lifetime prevalence of sleepwalking was found to be 29.2 percent.
The study also showed that people with depression were 3.5 times more likely to sleepwalk than those without, and people with alcohol abuse/dependence or obsessive-compulsive disorder were also significantly more likely to have sleepwalking episodes. In addition, individuals taking SSRI antidepressants were three times more likely to sleepwalk twice a month or more than those who didn't.
"There is no doubt an association between nocturnal wanderings and certain conditions, but we don't know the direction of the causality," said Ohayon. "Are the medical conditions provoking sleepwalking, or is it vice versa? Or perhaps it's the treatment that is responsible."
Although more research is needed, the work could help raise awareness of this association among primary care physicians. "We're not expecting them to diagnose sleepwalking, but they might detect symptoms that could be indices of sleepwalking," said Ohayon.
Among the researchers' other findings:
- The duration of sleepwalking was mostly chronic, with just over 80 percent of those who have sleepwalked reporting they've done so for more than five years.
- Sleepwalking was not associated with gender and seemed to decrease with age.
- Nearly one-third of individuals with nocturnal wandering had a family history of the disorder.
- People using over-the-counter sleeping pills had a higher likelihood of reporting sleepwalking episodes at least two times per month. (Indeed, a sleeping pill was the trigger for Homer Simpson's middle-of-the-night shenanigans.)
Provided by Stanford University Medical Center
- Sleep deprivation used to diagnose sleepwalking Mar 19, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Study shows that adults have dreamlike thoughts during sleepwalking and sleep terrors episodes Dec 01, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists find genetic basis for sleepwalking Feb 10, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Lack of sleep can provoke sleepwalking Apr 02, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Childhood parasomnias such as sleepwalking and bedwetting may persist into adolescence Jun 07, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
19 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Neuroscience 5 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The human brain is able to identify individuals' voices by comparing them against an internal 'average voice' prototype, according to neuroscientists.
Neuroscience 9 hours ago | 1 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new study determined that children and adolescents with seizures involving the temporal lobe are likely to have clinically significant behavioral problems and psychiatric illness, especially depression. Findings published ...
Neuroscience 9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
As the human body fine-tunes its neurological wiring, nerve cells often must fix a faulty connection by amputating an axon—the "business end" of the neuron that sends electrical impulses to tissues or other ...
Neuroscience 11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
A study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital found "substantial evidence" that a regenerative process involving damaged nerve fibers in the spinal cord could hold the key to better functional recovery by most stroke victims.
Neuroscience 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 2 |
11 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0 |
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |