Will There Ever Be a Cure for Narcolepsy?

As most people with narcolepsy are probably aware, current treatments are designed to help manage symptoms rather than treating the underlying cause of the condition itself.

Recent advancements, however, have pinpointed a hypocretin deficiency as the cause of narcolepsy and led to studies to treat this cause and, possibly, lead to a cure.

Narcolepsy - http://helpguide.org/images/sleep/man-asleep-at-dinner-350.jpg
Ye who suffer from narcolepsy, do not lose hope! Advancements are being made in treatments related to sleep disorders.

Possibilities currently being investigated include:

  • substitution of the natural neuropeptide
  • engineering hypocretin receptor agonists
  • hypocretin cell transplantation
  • gene therapy

It’s been a decade since scientists began looking at these approaches, but no effective treatments have come of it. Hope should not be lost, however, because there have been advancements in the understanding of the hypocretin system. For example: We now know hypocretin neurons are located in the brain and spinal cord.

While applying hypocretin to the brain and spinal cored directly can increase wakefulness and suppress cataplexy, it’s difficult to apply anything directly to the brain or spinal cord in humans (for what I hope are obvious reasons). Unfortunately, applying the same therapies to the surrounding areas results in poor absorption.

Thankfully, scientists have discovered that intranasal delivery (through the nose) might be a possibility. So, again, hope should not be lost and advancements are being made. If you’d like to read more about current advancements in therapy, click here then tell us what you think.

James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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