Narcolepsy

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  • Narcolepsy
    • A01
      • REM
        • One of the symptoms of narcolepsy is a loss of muscle tone, this is similar to what happens in REM sleep.
        • During the day time, narcoleptics often experience intrusions of REM sleep at inappropriate times.
        • At night, narcoleptics have abnormal REM sleep. REM type sleep occurs as soon as they fall to sleep.
      • Hypocretin
        • Research has uncovered a link between a neurotransmitter and narcolepsy. The neurotransmitter is hypocretin, hypocretin regulates sleep and wakefullness through interactions with systems that regulate emotions int he hypothalamus.
        • There are about 20, 000 hypocretin producing cells in the hypothalamus but in many narcoleptics a large number of these are missing which results in low levels.
    • A02
      • REM
        • There's research to support the REM explanation as Vogel observed REM sleep at the onset of sleep in a narcoleptic patient, REM more commonly occurred later during the first cycle of sleep.
          • This was further supported by recoding of neuron activity in the brain stems of narcoleptic dogs. This shows that lack of muscle tone co-occurred with brain activity that usually only occurs in REM sleep.
      • Hypocretin
        • The lack of hypocretin can be used to explain narcolepsy. Dement reported that a sleep research team found that mice couldn't make hypocretin. Thus, the mice developed symptoms of narcolepsy demonstrating the importance of the neurotransmitter in the occurrence of the disorder.
          • Despite this evidence, it appears hypocretin loss in humans is only rarely due to genes. It is likely that lower levels of hypocretin is due to brain injury, stress of infection or the result of attack to the immune system.
      • Much of the research into narcolepsy concentrates on genetic influences which could be seen as deterministic by failing to acknowledge the influence of environmental triggers such as stress levels.

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