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Sleepwalking more prevalent among U.S. adults: study

By Du Xiaodan (Xinhua)

08:56, May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults -- or upward of 8.4 million -- are prone to sleepwalking, which means the disorder is more prevalent among the population group than previously suspected, according to a new study published on Monday in the online edition of Neurology.

For this study, the Stanford University School of Medicine researchers secured a sample of 19,136 individuals from 15 U.S. 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 group reported at least one episode of sleepwalking in the previous year, with one percent saying they had two or more episodes in a month. Based on 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 (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants were three times more likely to sleepwalk twice a month or more than those who didn't.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:马茜、姚春)

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