National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
It is possible that the main title of the report Narcolepsy is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder characterized by chronic, excessive attacks of drowsiness during the day, sometimes called excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Attacks of drowsiness may persist for only a few seconds or several minutes. These episodes vary in frequency from a few incidents to several during a single day. Nighttime (nocturnal) sleep patterns may also be disrupted. Three additional symptoms often associated with narcolepsy are sudden extreme muscle weakness (cataplexy), a specific type of hallucination that occurs just before falling asleep or upon awakening, and brief episodes of paralysis while waking up. Narcolepsy also may be associated with "automatic behavior", i.e. doing something automatically without any memory afterward. The incidence of narcolepsy is approximately 1 in 2,000 and most researchers believe that the disorder remains undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in many cases.
There is increasing evidence that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue or cells. In narcolepsy, the immune system destroys certain brain cells that produce a peptide called hypocretin. Hypocretin impacts on many brain functions, but the details of its actions are not yet understood. Why the immune system attacks healthy cells in narcolepsy is unknown and additional environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of the disorder.
National Sleep Foundation
1010 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22201
Narcolepsy Network, Inc.
129 Waterwheel Lane
North Kingstown, RI 02852
American Sleep Association
1610 14th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901
Tri-State Sleep Disorders Center
1275 E. Kemper Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45246
Montefiore Medical Center
111 East 210th Street
Bronx, NY 10467
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
MedicAlert Foundation International
2323 Colorado Avenue
Turlock, CA 95382
Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research
College of Nursing, Suite 215
University of Illinois at Chicago
845 South Damen Avenue (M/C 802)
Chicago, IL 60612
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
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This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".
The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.
It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report
This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.
For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email email@example.com
Last Updated: 3/2/2012
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