Sleep Disturbance and Multiple Sclerosis

Nocturnal sleep study in multiple sclerosis:
correlations with clinical and brain magnetic resonance imaging findings.
Ferini-Strambi L, Filippi M, Martinelli V, Oldani A, Rovaris M, Zucconi M, Comi G, Smirne S
Sleep Disorders Center, State University, Milan, Italy.

It has been suggested that sleep disturbances in multiple sclerosis (MS) may be related to periodic leg movements (PLM) during sleep, but to date polysomnographic studies were conducted only on small and unselected patient groups. Aim of this study was to evaluate 8-hour polysomnography in MS patients and to correlate sleep results with clinical and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Twenty-five clinically definite MS patients, without mood disorders and drug-free, entered the study. The patients were compared to 25 age- and sex-matched subjects. MS patients had significantly reduced sleep efficiency and experienced more awakenings during sleep. No difference was found in sleep architecture parameters between MS patients and controls. PLM was found in 9 patients (36%) and 2 controls (8%; p = 0.02). Of the six patients who complained of insomnia two had PLM and 2 others presented with PLM and central sleep apnea. In patients with PLM greater MRI lesion loads were detected in the infratentorial regions, particularly in cerebellum and brainstem. Larger studies in neurological diseases that produce focal lesions in these brain areas could provide useful information on the PLM pathogenesis.
PMID: 7807167, UI: 95105887

      Sleep problems in multiple sclerosis.
      Tachibana N, Howard RS, Hirsch NP, Miller DH, Moseley IF, Fish D
      Harris Unit, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosugery, London, UK

Twenty-eight consecutive patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) were clinically evaluated to determine the presence of sleep-related disorders. There were 12 males and 16 females aged between 22 and 67 with disability ranging between 1.5 and 8.5 on Kurtzke extended disability status score (EDSS). Fifteen patients (54%) reported sleep-related problems. These included difficulties initiating sleep and/or frequent awakenings due to spasms or discomfort in the legs (8 patients), difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep (3), habitual snoring (4) and nocturia (1). All-night oximetry was performed and the tracings analysed for the number of dips in oxygen saturation (SaO2) or more than 4%. Three patients showed significant sleep-related oxygen desaturation (> 5 dips of > 4% SaO2/h). Subsequent polysomnography performed in 2 of the 3 patients with significant oxygen desaturation confirmed the presence of sleep apnoea. MRI analysis of brain stem regions showed abnormalities in 20/22 cases. The 3 patients showing nocturnal oxygen desaturation had MRI brain stem lesions, but their locations were variable and their general appearance not different from that seen in the 17 without sleep apnoea. Sleep disturbance in MS is common but poorly recognised. It is usually due to leg spasms, pain, immobility, nocturia or medication. It is much less commonly associated with nocturnal respiratory insufficiency.
PMID: 7851452, UI: 95154356

Sleep disturbance, depression, and lesion site in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Clark CM, Fleming JA, Li D, Oger J, Klonoff H, Paty D
Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

We examined the prevalence of sleep problems in a sample of patients with mild but clinically definite multiple sclerosis (n = 143) and sought to determine whether there was a relationship between the presence of sleep complaints and the level of depression. As magnetic resonance imaging scans were available for a subsample of the patients with multiple sclerosis (n = 117), we also wanted to determine whether there was a relationship between the site of the lesion and the presence of sleep difficulties. The prevalence of sleep difficulties was three times higher in the patients with multiple sclerosis than the control group (25.2% vs 8.2%). Moreover, the presence of sleep complaints was associated with higher levels of depression. Three lesion sites that subserve supplemental motor areas were significantly related to the presence of sleep complaints. These findings suggest that, for some patients with MS, sleep disturbance and accompanying increases in depression may be a function of the lesion site resulting in nocturnal spasms.