We’ve all had the experience of pursuing our dreams, but this can be a frighteningly nerve-wracking experience. Actor Alan Alda, best known for his role in the TV series M*A*S*H*, threw a sack of potatoes at the attacker when he thought he was being threatened as he slept. When he woke up, he was in his bedroom and the bag of potatoes turned out to be a pillow that he threw at his wife. Such a terrifying experience suggests a brain-related problem, such as Parkinson’s disease, which turns out to be Alda’s case.

according to Scientific American, performing dreams refers to a disorder that occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage. Called REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), this disorder affects 0.5 to 1.25% of the population. It is more common in men and adults, and can indicate a neurodegenerative disease, usually the protein alpha-synuclein forms toxic aggregates on the brain. This is called synucleinopathy.

RBD can be caused by certain medications, such as antidepressants, or by other underlying conditions such as narcolepsy or a brain stem tumor. Sleepwalking and sleep talking are not behaviors associated with RBD.

In the absence of these alternative explanations, when RBD occurs, the risk of developing brain disease in the future is high, according to Scientific America. Some experts say that when dreams are implemented, more than 80% of the risk of neurodegenerative disease, especially Parkinson’s disease, is a progressive loss of motor control. RBD can be an early symptom of other degenerative diseases, including Lewy body dementia and multiple system dementia.

But many clinicians do not know the relationship between dreams and disease. After reading about the link, Alda had to convince his neurologist to do a brain test for Parkinson’s 2015 news article. His scan confirmed his suspicions, and the actor shared his experience with the public to warn others.

“I thought that anyone with a symptom, even if it wasn’t one of the common symptoms, could start to deal with the progressive nature of the disease first. “I think the sooner I attack you, the better chance I have of stopping the symptoms.”

Dr. Daniela Berg, a neurologist at Christian-Albrechts University in Germany, says that RBD is “one of the strongest clinical prodromal markers we have” for predicting Parkinson’s disease. Scientists say that understanding RBD will help them track the ways in which alpha-synuclein is distributed throughout the body and brain. In some patients, there is evidence that pathology begins in the gut and spreads through lower brain structures such as the brain stem to higher regions that control movement and cognition. The most likely route is through the vagus nerve, and at least one study has shown that vagus amputation, a treatment for peptic ulcers, may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease later in life, according to Scientific American.

“I’m doing everything I can to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” said Alda, 86. He works, plays chess with his wife and stars in his favorite TV series, he says. People. “I am more convinced than ever that life is getting better, better and better,” he said.

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