Breakthrough research on hypersomnia published
Narcolepsy Network Medical Advisory Board member David Rye, MD, PhD, and a team of researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered thatÂ dozens of adults with primary hypersomniaÂ have a substance in theirÂ cerebrospinal fluid that acts like a sleeping pill.
The results were published online by the journalÂ Science Translational Medicine.
The paper describes how samples of patientsâ€™ cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)Â containÂ a substance that enhances the effects of the brain chemical GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid.) GABA is one of the main inhibitory chemicals of theÂ nervousÂ system â€“ alcohol, barbituates and benzodiazepines all enhance the effectsÂ ofÂ GABA. In the laboratory, the size of the effect on GABA receptor functionÂ is moreÂ than twice as large in the hyper-sleepy patients, on average, than inÂ controlÂ samples.
Identifying the mysterious â€œsomnogen,â€Â whichÂ appears to be produced by the body, could give scientists greater insightÂ intoÂ how our brains regulate states of consciousness such as alertness andÂ sleep, and could lead to new treatments forÂ primary hypersomnia.
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Date Created: November 25th, 2012
Last Updated: November 25th, 2012