Narcolepsy Research

(Also Known As: Insomnia Research, Narcoleptic Research)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

Narcoleptic Related Research


A research trial was conducted by a team of Switzerland scientists that bears a promising outcome in the search for a pharmacological treatment for narcolepsy and insomnia. A new drug patented by a Swiss drug company is currently being developed that can block the brain receptors that respond to orexin, which is a neuropeptide in the brain that when blocked can suppress sleepiness during the day. Blocking of orexin can help narcoleptics and insomniacs obtain better and restful sleep at night and allow them to become more alert and help them obtain wakefulness during the day. 10


A research study conducted by Dr. Jacques Montplaisir of Sleep Disorders Center at the University of de Montreal in Canada led to the discovery of the distinguishable features of rapid eye movement (REM) without atonia in narcolepsy and idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). He discovered that in narcolepsy there is a higher percentage of REM sleep without atonia, REM density and phasic EMG activity. In cases of RBD on the other hand there is a high percentage of REM sleep without atonia but the REM density is lower. Furthermore research revealed that there are similarities with the REM sleep motor dyscontrol between RBD and narcolepsy pointing to the possible common neurobiological effect of motor inhibition during REM sleep. In narcolepsy, the behavioral manifestation of REM sleep is less frequent but more severe with idiopathic RBD. 11


A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles identified that Parkinson disease shares common symptoms with narcolepsy. Their research findings showed that in Parkinson’s there is severe damage to the small group of neurons whose loss results in narcolepsy. It has been found that about 60% of the brain cells that contain the peptide hypocretin have been lost in Parkinson’s, the same hypocretin neuropeptide that regulates the sleep cycle that is also lost in narcolepsy. It is notable that Parkinson disease is also preceded by day time sleep attacks, REM sleep disorder, depression, nocturnal insomnia, and hallucinations which are all similar symptoms occurring with narcolepsy. Their research confirmed that the loss of hypocretin in Parkinson’s is the main cause of the occurrence of the narcolepsy-like symptoms seen from Parkinson disease. 12

Could You Have Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy Topics

Related Conditions

Dyssomnia – Difficulty Remaining Asleep, Disturbed Quantity and Quality of Sleep
Hypersomnia – Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Prolonged Nighttime Sleep, Repeated Daytime Naps
Parasomnias NOS – Abnormal Movement When Sleeping, Abnormal Emotion and Behavior During Sleep, Sleepwalking, Bruxism, Sleep Terror Disorder, Nightmare Disorder