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The Causes Of Narcolepsy

Dec 6, 2007
What in the world could be causing such a strange disorder as Narcolepsy? Scientists have been asking this same question and have discovered quite a few interesting things. In fact, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has combined its efforts with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to conduct research about narcolepsy and other related sleep disorders. Different studies such as the "Safety and Effectiveness Study of a Single Dose of JNJ-17216498 in Patients With Narcolepsy" and "Body Weight Regulation in Patients With Narcolepsy", many conclusions have been made. Other studies such as the "Effectiveness Of The Drug GSK 189254 In Treating Patients With Narcolepsy" and "Trial of Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate) for the Treatment of Narcolepsy" have helped to conclude that, while there are available medications to relieve some symptoms of narcolepsy, there is still no cure for the condition as a whole.

Thanks to some of the friendly doctors on the job, we are provided with some simple explanations about the causes of a very complex disorder. To make things more understandable to the average layman, it had been explained that narcolepsy is a chronic neurological condition caused by the inability of the brain to exercise normal and regular sleep and wake cycles. The underlying causes of this neurological condition are too complex for many people to understand, but there are four major symptoms that are associated with this condition. First, patients experience excessive daytime sleepiness or EDS. Second, they experience cataplexy or the sudden loss of muscle tone. Third, they experience vivid hallucinations during sleep or upon awakening and lastly they have brief periods of total paralysis. People with this condition do not have the luxury to exercise a regular sleep cycle from non-rapid eye movement to rapid eye movement. Instead, they must seek serious medical treatment.

One of the most common questions still remains for many people. "What causes narcolepsy?" If we are willing to stretch our minds a bit, a more complex explanation can be given for this strange disorder. First, there are some simple things that can be said to trigger the symptoms of this disorder. According to researchers, studies show that patients who suffer from narcolepsy had developed infection, immune-system dysfunction, trauma, hormonal changes, traumatic injuries, tumor growth due to exposure to toxins and stress prior to their narcolepsy symptoms attack. Although these are not considered definite causes for the disorder, they can be readily associated with its onset.

In addition to this, a more complicated explanation involves the fact that a number of variant forms of genes called Allenes affect the condition and are located in a region of chromosome 6 known as the HLA complex of the human gene. I told you this was going to be complicated! Anyway, Allenes have also been discovered to be an essential factor associated with narcolepsy. The HLA complex makes up the majority of interrelated genes that regulate vital roles in the immune system function. People who are diagnosed to have this condition have been shown to have only specific variants in certain HLA genes. These alone, however, are not sufficient to cause the disorder because there are clinical studies that prove the condition to be more unpredictable by nature. Many other genes, aside from those which make up the HLA complex may significantly contribute to the occurrence of narcolepsy. By considering the group of neurons in the brainstem and in the central brain which interact with each other to control sleep, there are large numbers of genes which are supposed to disrupt the brain's neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters keep us awake when we need to be awake and individuals who lack these transmitters are found to develop many symptoms of narcolepsy. Now you see how complicated it all is! The good news is that you don't have to be a genius to see the symptoms or to seek medical advice if you think you may be suffering from this condition.

As part of treatment and good management of this condition, medical practitioners strongly suggest that patients must adhere to certain behavioral strategies such as avoidance of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime. These behaviors, accompanied by proper medication to establish a regular sleep every night, are the best solutions known to help combat this strange disorder known as Narcolepsy.
About the Author
Over 70 Million people in the USA suffer from some kind of Sleep Disorder! There are actually hundreds of ways to improve your sleep but the first thing that is needed is to raise more awareness! If you want to sleep better tonight , you can visit this information Sleep Aid Web Site that is packed with FREE information: http://www.Sleep-Aid-Solutions.com
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