Research on Narcolepsy



What research on narcolepsy is being done? Currently there is no known cause for this chronic sleep disorder. How frustrating!

The good news is that research is being done all the time to find the cause of narcolepsy.

Studies supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are trying to increase understanding of what causes narcolepsy and improve physicians' ability to detect and treat the disease.

Scientists are studying narcolepsy patients and families, looking for clues to the causes, course, and effective treatment of this sleep disorder.

Recent discovery of families of dogs that are naturally afflicted with narcolepsy has been of great help in these studies. Some of the specific questions being addressed in NIH-supported studies are the nature of genetic and environmental factors that might combine to cause narcolepsy and the immunological, biochemical, physiological, and neuromuscular disturbances associated with narcolepsy.

Scientists are also working to better understand sleep mechanisms and the physical and psychological effects of sleep deprivation and to develop better ways of measuring sleepiness and cataplexy.

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Source and Suggested Reading:
Swanson, Jennifer. Sleep Disorders Sourcebook. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1999.