Narcolepsy 090427101639 Phpapp02


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Narcolepsy 090427101639 Phpapp02

  1. 1. Narcolepsy<br />
  2. 2. Narcolepsy<br />What if you were hanging out with friends and someone told a really funny joke, and just as you started to laugh your body got weak and you couldn’t move? Or what if you were trying to pay attention in class but, no matter how much sleep you had gotten the night before, you fell asleep in class anyway? These are the kinds of challenges people with narcolepsy face.<br />People with narcolepsy have periods when they get really sleepy during the day. Narcolepsy sometimes runs in families, though no specific gene has been identified. <br />
  3. 3. Narcolepsy<br />The symptoms of narcolepsy include getting very sleepy during the day; muscle weakness while awake (called cataplexy), sometimes caused by experiencing a strong emotion such as anger or excitement; an inability to move while falling asleep or waking up (called sleep paralysis); and dreamlike experiences during which the person has trouble telling the dream from reality (called hypnagogic hallucinations). Not every person with narcolepsy has all four symptoms.<br />
  4. 4. Diagnosis of Narcolepsy<br />Narcolepsy symptoms are usually first seen when the person is an adolescent, though many people with narcolepsy go through their whole lives without being diagnosed. The disease has been known for a long time. There is a description of a mother and son both with narcolepsy that dates back to 1887. Both humans and some other animals, including dogs, have been observed to have narcolepsy.<br />
  5. 5. Dogs and Narcolepsy<br />At a sleep clinic at Stanford University, there is a colony of dogs with narcolepsy. Researchers have found that dogs have a gene for narcolepsy. <br />The researchers have tested the DNA of these dogs, and they found a specific region of the dog’s genome (the total DNA present in the nucleus of each cell of an organism) that is different for dogs with narcolepsy and dogs that do not have narcolepsy. In this way, they identified a gene for narcolepsy in dogs. This research will help scientists look for a gene for narcolepsy in humans as well.<br />
  6. 6. Doberman pinchers are the breed in the dog colony that have narcolepsy<br />
  7. 7. Treatment for Narcolepsy<br />The most common treatment for narcolepsy is a stimulant drug such as Ritalin (which is often used for people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). However, Ritalin can cause side effects such as headaches, nervousness, and mood changes. Sometimes doctors use the same medicines that are used to treat people with depression to treat narcolepsy, and there are other new drugs, including one called Provigil, that causes people to stay awake but doesn’t have the side effects seen with Ritalin..<br />