Now we know what causes narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease — a finding that helps explain why the 2009 swine flu (and the vaccine used to prevent it) was correlated with increased cases of narcolepsy.

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  1. jjsaul says:

    Frighteningly, the article not only doesn't discuss a potential treatment, the description of the killed cells makes a successful treatment for existing cases more remote. Having a family member with narcolepsy I was hoping for more near-term treatment options.

    Perhaps very early intervention can prevent escalation of the severity in individuals and development of the disorder prevented entirely in some cases with genetic screening for susceptibility.

  2. clifyt says:

    Seems like half the autoimmune disease 'cures' out there pretty much use the same sort of pathways.

    Cut off TNF-α‎ and the disease goes away...and the ability for dead / dying cells to go peacefully into the night allowing for mutated cells to stick around and multiply. Or you suppress the immune response...pretty much give yourself artificial aids a few times a month and hope no immune system / hyperactive immune system balances itself out. Or sometimes chemo-in-a-pill works...I miss MTX in my diet. Sadly, a mixture of TNF-α‎ blockers and MTX doesn't stop the big cancer that one can get with this (much to my doctors surprise).

    And they all seem to work on just about every autoimmune disease to a good extent, just got to pick your side effects!!!

    As for narcolepsy...there has been several treatments already...my favorite is provigil. I mean, I never had this disease, but I do get debilitating times where I just want to fall asleep and not wake up for two days and this is one of the few that works to keep me up without feeling like I'm on crank. I get it off label from a friend after she had seen it work on MS patients. However, its labeled purpose is for narcolepsy and apparently it works well...

  3. Seems like a great deal of seemingly disparate chronic illnesses and disorders are finding a common source in autoimmune issues (particularly in the gastrointestinal tract/gut-brain-microbiome matrix). While still early, some are thinking it might lead to the "Grand Unified Theory of Chronic Disease, at the very heart of which we will find the gut microbiome" (GUT, appropriately). That line comes from this excellent Michael Pollan article from the New York Times:

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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