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OBJECTIVE: To apply a machine learning analysis to clinical and presynaptic dopaminergic imaging data of patients with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) to predict the development of Parkinson disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). METHODS: In this multicenter study of the International RBD study group, 173 patients (mean age 70.5 ± 6.3 years, 70.5% males) with polysomnography-confirmed RBD who eventually phenoconverted to overt alpha-synucleinopathy (RBD due to synucleinopathy) were enrolled, and underwent baseline presynaptic dopaminergic imaging and clinical assessment, including motor, cognitive, olfaction, and constipation evaluation. For comparison, 232 RBD non-phenoconvertor patients (67.6 ± 7.1 years, 78.4% males) and 160 controls (68.2 ± 7.2 years, 53.1% males) were enrolled. Imaging and clinical features were analyzed by machine learning to determine predictors of phenoconversion. RESULTS: Machine learning analysis showed that clinical data alone poorly predicted phenoconversion. Presynaptic dopaminergic imaging significantly improved the prediction, especially in combination with clinical data, with 77% sensitivity and 85% specificity in differentiating RBD due to synucleinopathy from non phenoconverted RBD patients, and 85% sensitivity and 86% specificity in discriminating PD-converters from DLB-converters. Quantification of presynaptic dopaminergic imaging showed that an empirical z-score cutoff of -1.0 at the most affected hemisphere putamen characterized RBD due to synucleinopathy patients, while a cutoff of -1.0 at the most affected hemisphere putamen/caudate ratio characterized PD-converters. INTERPRETATION: Clinical data alone poorly predicted phenoconversion in RBD due to synucleinopathy patients. Conversely, presynaptic dopaminergic imaging allows a good prediction of forthcoming phenoconversion diagnosis. This finding may be used in designing future disease-modifying trials. ANN NEUROL 2024.

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Journal article


Ann Neurol

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