Narcolepsy is also known as or subsumes Hypersomnia with REM sleep abnormalities. -ed.
In this clinical article, Dr. Antonio Culebras, Professor of Neurology at Upstate Medical University, SUNY, reviews the current information on narcolepsy, a disease that has progressed in only 50 years from a quasi-psychiatric condition to a true neurologic disorder. New knowledge of the etiology and mechanism of disease relative to the hypocretins has opened a major pathway to understanding excessive sleepiness not only in narcolepsy but also in other sleep disorders. Most cases of narcolepsy with cataplexy are associated with the loss of approximately 50,000 to 100,000 hypothalamic neurons containing hypocretin. Pharmacologic treatment remains symptomatic but increasingly effective.