Narcolepsy and Cataplexy Circuitry Becomes Clearer After a Decade of Research

By Richard Robinson

© Neurology Today, November 1, 2012

A leading researcher reviews advances in narcolepsy and cataplexy, focusing on new research and insights into the role of the neurotransmitter orexin, or hypocretin, in signaling the neuropathology of the disorder.

According to Dr. Thomas Scammell, of Harvard University Medical School, the picture that is developing in his research is that orexin is responsible not only for directly driving wakefulness, but also for stabilizing it in the face of the brain’s sleep-promoting system.

“The big questions,” he says, “are why does the loss of orexin neurons cause a lifetime of sleepiness, and how do positive emotions trigger cataplexy?”

This article explores these vital questions. Read the full article here. (PDF)

Dr. Scammel’s research is underwritten in part through financial contributions from Wake Up Narcolepsy.