Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes people to fall asleep uncontrollably during the day. It also includes features of dreaming that occur while awake. Other common symptoms include sleep paralysis, hallucinations and cataplexy. About one out of every 2,000 people is known to have narcolepsy. It affects the same number of men and women.
The majority of patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy experience a number of symptoms of eating disorders, with an irresistible craving for food and binge eating as the most prominent features, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, authored by Hal Droogleever Fortuyn, MD, and Sebastiaan Overeem, MD, of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands, focused on 60 patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy who were recruited from specialized sleep centers and 120 healthy controls.
According to the results, 23.3 percent of the narcolepsy/cataplexy patients fulfilled the criteria for a clinical eating disorder, as opposed to none of the control subjects. Half of the patients reported a persistent craving for food, as well as binge eating. Twenty-five percent of patients even reported binging at least twice a week.
“These data make it clear that narcolepsy is not just a sleeping disorder, but a hypothalamic disease with a much broader symptom profile,” said Dr. Fortuyn. “Hypocretin, the neurotransmitter that is lost in narcolepsy, has been implicated in the regulation of feeding through animal studies. Earlier studies in narcolepsy found a clear increase in body weight. However, we did not find a correlation between binge eating and increased weight. Binge eating is apparently not the direct cause of the obesity in narcolepsy, and this suggests that metabolic alterations may be involved. Nevertheless, our study shows that the loss of hypocretin function makes narcolepsy patients not only struggle with staying awake, but also destabilizes their eating pattern, which makes it harder to stay away from the candy jar.”
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- "Hi Tommaso, I cannot resist giving my two cents. It goes without saying that it is really pure..."
- "Let me give you my quick gut reply: read up on the quaternion group Q8.This is from the group theory..."
- "Dear LFB,thanks for your input. Of course there is no way that we will output tons of crap science..."
- "Hank, in the various sources I have been citing, homicides and suicides were always separated...."
- "not an oops, an actual mistake: get to choose an overall scaling I didn't think that through. That..."
- What bee-killing mites can teach us about parasite evolution
- Autism - measured in a sniff
- Opera is deadly - but The Tarantino influence in modern opera is killing it
- Gene therapy for cystic fibrosis shows encouraging trial results
- Prion trials and tribulations: Finding the right tools and experimental models