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September 1976

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep DensityAn Objective Indicator in Severe Medical-Depressive Syndromes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(9):1119-1123. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770090109011

• The electroencephalographic sleep patterns of 12 patients with a final diagnosis of primary depression and those of 12 patients admitted to the Clinical Research Unit with this diagnosis, but subsequently also found to be suffering from severe medical disease, were compared. Patients with depression concurrent with severe medical disease have significantly less phasic conjugate rapid eye movement (REM) activity during REM sleep than subjects with the diagnosis of a primary depression. These findings suggest that quantification of REM density may be used clinically to distinguish between medical-depressive syndromes and primary affective disorders.