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Home / International News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 12, 2007
Common cause of sleep disorders behind Parkinsons and Narcolepsy
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Common cause of sleep disorders behind Parkinsons and Narcolepsy

Researchers at the The University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) have identified a common cause of sleep disorders associated with Parkinsons disease and Narcolepsy.

Washington, May 12 : Researchers at the The University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) have identified a common cause of sleep disorders associated with Parkinson's disease and Narcolepsy.

The new finding suggests that Parkinson's disease patients have severe damage to the same small group of neurons called hypocretin, the loss of which causes narcolepsy.

It also suggests that the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease with hypocretin peptides or hypocretin analogs may ameliorate their sleep symptoms.

"When we think of Parkinson's, the first thing that comes to mind are the motor disorders associated with it," said Jerry Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

"But sleep disruption is a major problem in Parkinson's, often more disturbing than its motor symptoms. And most Parkinson's patients have daytime sleep attacks that resemble narcoleptic sleep attacks," the researcher added.

Boffins say that Parkinson's disease is often preceded and accompanied by daytime sleep attacks, nocturnal insomnia, REM sleep disorder, hallucinations and depression, all of which are the symptoms of narcolepsy.

They examined 16 human brains from cadavers, five from normal adults and 11 in various stages of Parkinson's, and found that an increasing loss of hypocretin cells with disease progression.

Siegel said that the later stages of Parkinson's were "characterised by a massive loss of the Hcrt neurons. That leads us to believe the loss of Hcrt cells may be a cause of the narcolepsy-like symptoms of [Parkinson's] and may be ameliorated by treatments aimed at reversing the Hcrt deficit."

ANI

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