Livin' on the MDedge

Parkinson’s disease could be hiding behind those nightmares


Living the dream, diagnosing the nightmare

Does a bad dream mean you should be consulting your doctor about an impending neurologic disease? Maybe.

New research published in eClinicalMedicine suggests that, for some people, bad dreams and nightmares have been associated with developing Parkinson’s disease later in life. Dr. Abidemi I. Otaiku of the University of Birmingham (England) analyzed data from a cohort study involving 3,818 older men, of whom 2.3% were diagnosed with Parkinson’s during the 12 years of follow-up.

Man sleeping ©Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock

Dr. Otaiku found those with frequent nightmares – at least once per week – were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s than were those without, with most of the diagnoses coming in the first 5 years.

Although more research needs to be done, “identifying the significance of bad dreams and nightmares could indicate that individuals who experience changes to their dreams in older age – without any obvious trigger – should seek medical advice,” he said in a Eurekalert statement.

Dr. Otaiku pointed out that studying dreams can tell us a lot about how our brains work and are structured. By using electroencephalography, Dr. Otaiku plans to look into the biological reasons for why we dream the way we do.

So could it be that those killer clowns are actually giving you a heads up on your health?

Maybe next time try a paper route

There’s just no winning with teenagers sometimes. You tell them to go outside, they’ll sit in the dark playing video games all night. You tell them to get better grades, they’ll skip school. You tell them to get a hobby, they’ll scam the German government for millions of euros.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tricky for governments to manage. Massive amounts of infrastructure needed to be set up, and that means corners got cut. Germany was no exception in this regard; the government entrusted the Kassenärztlichen Vereinigung, a doctor’s association, with overseeing COVID testing and payment at private test centers. To make things a bit easier, all they required private test centers to provide to receive reimbursement was an invoice.

COVID-19 drive-thru testing kit AvailableLight/Getty Images

This is where our 17-year-old from Freiburg comes in. In a spark of entrepreneurial genius, he decided to falsify documents and create an entirely fictional COVID test center. The KV approved it, and between March and July of 2021, he sent in thousands of fake invoices. Over that 4-month period, he submitted 500,000 invoices and received 5.7 million euros as compensation. That’s a few thousand tests per day, which was absolutely absurd, but he avoided scrutiny for months.

In the end, it wasn’t even the KV that noticed the fraud, but the bank. A bank employee noticed millions flowing into the account of a teenager and suspected money laundering, alerting the government. Fortunately for our young friend, since he was under 18 when he hatched his scheme, he was tried as a minor, avoiding jail time. His ill-gotten gains were confiscated, he has to pay a relatively minimal fine, and he will be on probation for 1 year. And presumably, he’ll be on the receiving end of the grounding of a lifetime.


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Today’s medical oxymoron: Healthy overconfidence