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Sleep Disorders Affect Majority of Elderly Participants in a Large Study

August 16, 2010

Sleeps disorders are common in the elderly, say researchers from Mayo Clinic who studied a large number of people in this age group in one Minnesota county.

At the 2009 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Seattle on April 28, the researchers reported that 59 percent of 892 people, age 7089, had signs of at least one recognized sleep disorder other than insomnia. The most common disorder, reported by 32 percent of study participants, was sleep-related leg cramps.

The researchers say that their study is one of the first to look at a broader spectrum of sleep disorders in a communitys elderly, and understanding the prevalence of these problems may lead to increased diagnosis followed by beneficial treatment.

All of these sleep disorders can disrupt a persons quality of life, because they affect sleep, says the studys lead researcher, Jennifer Molano, M.D., a behavioral neurology fellow in the Department of Neurology. But if these problems are recognized, an accurate diagnosis could lead to successful treatment.

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