Skip to content

SLEEP (SamRBD) Research

Contact: Jane Alty, Samantha Bramich

REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder: Prevalence, Motor-Cognitive Characteristics, and Olfactory Function

REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is associated with significantly increased risk of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases in the future. It is characterised by people kicking their arms and legs out whilst dreaming. The progression of this disorder in an older adult population is not fully understood and it is also unclear whether changes in thinking, movement and sense of smell may increase the risk of people with RBD developing a neurodegenerative disorder. This research project will identify the prevalence of RBD in older Tasmanians, and then explore different aspects of their brain function that may be associated with increased risk of dementia.  Identifying RBD early will provide opportunities to enrol people in risk reduction research and drug trials to try and prevent progression.


  • Identify the prevalence of RBD, sleep rhythm regulation, olfactory function and associated cognitive and motor profiles in older participants within the Tasmanian community.
  • Develop a scalable online screening test to detect RBD at an early stage, before significant cognitive symptoms.
  • Track the cognitive, motor and olfactory functions of people with RBD over 5 years to better understand what features of RBD put people at higher risk of dementia.

Research Team:

Wicking Dementia Centre, College of Health and Medicine:

University of Sydney

  • Professor Sharon Naismith

Queen Mary University of London:

  • Dr Alastair Noyce


Bramich, Alty, King, Kuruvilla:

Identifying older adults in Tasmania with REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder(RBD): the first step towards reducing their high risk of neurodegeneration

RHHRF 2022 $25,000