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Discovered gene causes narcolepsy

September 29 2008

Japanese researchers from the Department of Genetics, University of Tokyo announced the results of work on the gene causing the disease narcolepsy - sudden sleepiness which is marked in 1 in 2500 in the U.S. and Europe, and 4 times more frequent in Japanese.

Scientists have studied DNA from 222 Japanese, the subject of narcolepsy, and 389 are not affected by the disease. "The same gene was found in 45% of patients with narcolepsy, while, as in healthy people he meets just 30% of cases," - said a professor at Tokyo University Katsusi Tokunaga (Katsushi Tokunaga). It is located between the gene responsible for sleep, and the gene that regulates the sleep cycle.

Scientists have studied the presence of this gene in 424 Koreans, 785 Europeans and 184 African Americans and found that Korean patients with narcolepsy, is also a stable link between the disease and the presence of this gene, whereas no association was found in Europeans and African Americans.

The researchers acknowledge that while science can not explain the reason for so frequent gene only in Korean and Japanese patients.

Narcolepsy - a disease which is mainly exposed to people from 10 to 30 years, accompanied by an unexpected dip in sleepiness and sleep, regardless of a person's will several times during the day, this is not a consequence of lack of sleep. In addition, narcolepsy is accompanied by sudden muscle weakness when experiencing strong emotions - such as anger, happiness, surprise. Another adverse symptoms of narcolepsy are strong realistic hallucinations, occurring at the time of immersion in the dream.

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