Sleep Disorders

19 February 2010

Study pinpoints narcolepsy trigger

Scientists have identified a key player in narcolepsy, a disorder that causes sudden daytime attacks of sleep or tiredness.

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Scientists have identified a key player in narcolepsy, a disorder that causes sudden daytime attacks of sleep or tiredness.

The Swiss study of 120 narcoleptic patients found that high levels of Trib2 antibodies destroy neurons that produce hypocretin, a substance that helps keep people awake, Agence France Presse reported.

Narcolepsy disappeared in most patients after they were given immunoglobulin, which is often used to treat autoimmune diseases of the nervous system, said the researchers.

They said their findings could improve understanding about sleep and may lead to new treatments for narcolepsy, AFP reported.

The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. - (HealthDay News, February 2010)

 

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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