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?
- Cape Verde Volcano - The Biggest Natural Disaster You Aren't Reading About
- Guest Post: Ben Allanach, On Open Access
- HIP 116454b Shows That Despite Malfunction, Kepler Can Still Find Planets
- Why I’ll Talk Policy With Climate Change Deniers But Not Science
- Foldscope: A Microscope You Can Carry In Your Pocket
- The Evolution Of Trichromatic Color Vision In Humans
- There Was No 'Paleo Diet' - Ancient People Ate What They Had
- "Yes indeed.In passing, one of my many nicknames is Compo. Now that I no longer need to wear..."
- "Just curious; why do you bounce all over a science site with no intention other than crapping all..."
- "Good article Ben. What's rather strange is how mere magazines have such a dominant role in physics..."
- "The snag of course is that last year, Chicago had its coldest winter ever and here in the UK I..."
- Alaska fish adjust to climate change by following the food
- Research shows E.B. White was right in 'Charlotte's Web'
- NASA's SDO captures images of 2 mid-level flares
- Lost memories might be able to be restored, new UCLA study indicates
- Early exposure to antidepressants affects adult anxiety and serotonin transmission