Neuropsychol Rev. 2023 Jan 2. doi: 10.1007/s11065-022-09572-1. Online ahead of print.
The aim of this meta-analysis is twofold: (a) to assess cognitive impairments in isolated rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) patients compared to healthy controls (HC); (b) to quantitatively estimate the risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease in iRBD patients according to baseline cognitive assessment. To address the first aim, cross-sectional studies including polysomnography-confirmed iRBD patients, HC, and reporting neuropsychological testing were included. To address the second aim, longitudinal studies including polysomnography-confirmed iRBD patients, reporting baseline neuropsychological testing for converted and still isolated patients separately were included. The literature search was conducted based on PRISMA guidelines and the protocol was registered at PROSPERO (CRD42021253427). Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were searched from PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Embase databases. Publication bias and statistical heterogeneity were assessed respectively by funnel plot asymmetry and using I2. Finally, a random-effect model was performed to pool the included studies. 75 cross-sectional (2,398 HC and 2,460 iRBD patients) and 11 longitudinal (495 iRBD patients) studies were selected. Cross-sectional studies showed that iRBD patients performed significantly worse in cognitive screening scores (random-effects (RE) model = -0.69), memory (RE model = -0.64), and executive function (RE model = -0.50) domains compared to HC. The survival analyses conducted for longitudinal studies revealed that lower executive function and language performance, as well as the presence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), at baseline were associated with an increased risk of conversion at follow-up. Our study underlines the importance of a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment in the context of iRBD.