MJD Foundation

Sleep Studies Research Project

 Sleep Studies

In August 2008, the MJD Foundation engaged the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health to perform individual sleep study analysis on seven (7) MJD sufferers.  Specialist sleep technician Amanda McKenna and  Dr Nick Antic, a Staff Specialist  in Sleep and Respiratory Medicine from the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health and Flinders Medical Centre temporarily moved their lab to the aged care facility on Groote Eylandt for the best part of a week.    


The project involved the  monitoring of  sleep behaviour by polysomnography, with  the computerised data collected and sent back to the Sleep Institute for further analysis along with the  compilation of comprehensive sleep behaviour histories from clients and their sleep partners.


Whilst it is well known amongst MJD sufferers and carers that sleep is a major problem, this  project takes a first step to looking at scientific analysis of the problem, and potential treatments that could assist sufferers in improving their sleep.

Update on the preliminary findings from Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health - Oct 2008
The Sleep and MJD Study aimed to establish the connection between MJD and sleep disorders, in particular REM behaviour disorder, periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS), restless legs (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

We analysed seven patients and found evidence of sleep disorders in a number of them. REM behaviour disorder was observed in three patients, OSA in one patient, PLMS in 3 patients and 5 patients showed phasic muscle activity in REM.

Of particular interest was the high incidence of REM behaviour disorder. In the general population the prevalence of REM behaviour disorder is 0.5%. Prevalence figures on our patients showed that 3 out of 7 (43%) had REM behaviour disorder.

Sleep disorders are treatable. Identifying MJD patients with sleep disorders is the first step in assisting sufferers in improving their sleep. The patients we identified with sleep disorders are now on treatment and are being followed carefully.


Next Steps (2009/2010):

1. Monitoring and followup of how patients are responding to treatment

2. The MJD Foundation plans to conduct more research.  The connection between MJD and REM behaviour disorder has, as yet, not been made. Future research into this connection may highlight the disease pathway in the brain and aid future treatment breakthroughs.