About the book
REM behaviour has a special role in human sleep physiology. Rapid eye movements, dreams, skeletal muscle atonia, and autonomous-sympathetic nervous system questions the brain and its importance, and what it really means again and again with EEG signals. Therefore repeating REM waves in the brain, REM physiology and pathophysiology should be studied more in depth. We can regard narcolepsy as a type of REM physiology abnormality due to two important conditions: sleep paralysis, and dreaming phenomenon. A narcoleptic patient experiences both conditions while asleep or waking up from sleep during REM. Narcolepsy can be conceptualized as blurring of the borders of the brain while awake, sleeping or dreaming. An awake narcoleptic can feel as if sleepy and can even see dreams. In the classical sense, narcolepsy is characterized by hypersomnolence during the day associated with REM sleep phenomenon and cataplexy encompassing sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations. The fundamental pathophysiology of narcolepsy is related to a deficiency of hypocretine (orexine) which is an important component of the hypothalamic neuropeptide system.
Historically the word narcolepsy was first used by Ge´lineau in 1880 to describe irresistible episodes of sleep that were repetitive with short intervals. In 1950s Kleitman was the first individual to discover REM. Since then, laboratories that can record electrophysiological signals have been developed and possibilities for diagnosing, treating and monitoring sleep disorders have increased. However, narcolepsy can still be mixed with sleep disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders.
This book aims at tackling narcolepsy from both basic science and clinical science perspectives. The reader will be able to grasp physiological mechanisms on one hand while associating narcolepsy with clinical diseases on the other. In narcolepsy there are disrupted night-day and sleep-wakefulness rhythms. Once this rhythm is hindered, the individual is confronted with biological, psychological and social problems. Narcoleptics are faced with the risk of collapsing and being knocked down to the floor while in kitchen or at the park, when driving in the traffic or walking down the stairs at any given moment.
This book will not only provide a resource for physicians who will be helping this group of patients, but will at the same time contribute to the pathophysiology of the disease as it contains up to date information for researchers focusing on innovations in this field.