The Fight to Stay Awake

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Narcolepsy is a disorder that causes people to fall asleep instantly for anywhere between a few seconds and an hour. People with this disorder experience a sudden urge to sleep and have no control over staying awake. This urge can happen at any point during the day. A patient with this disorder can experience complete loss of muscle tone (cataplexy) which causes them to fall asleep. Cataplexy occurs most often when the patient is experiencing a strong emotion such as laughter or surprise. Genetic abnormalities cause a higher risk of narcolepsy but other patients develop narcolepsy after experiencing brain damage. Narcolepsy causes its patients to suffer and also poses risks to their lives. For example, if a patient with narcolepsy was driving and suddenly fell asleep, they could easily be killed on the road and potentially harm others. Narcolepsy is a potentially harmful and serious disorder which the general public should view as important.
In this video they show a dog with narcolepsy. You're able to see how severe it can be and how dramatically it can change a life. For humans, and especially for this dog, they're unable to live a normal life because they're constantly battling the urge to fall asleep. If I were able to meet someone with narcolepsy, I would ask him or her how it has effected their life and how they were able to overcome their disorder. What is triggered in their brain that tells them to fall asleep? Will there ever be a stronger and more secure treatment than taking a pill that simply promotes wakefulness?

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This page contains a single entry by bind0082 published on October 19, 2011 11:14 AM.

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