A heterogenous group of disorders characterized by unusual drowsiness or attacks of irresistible sleep, occurring during the day, are frequently classified under the narcolepsies. A certain number of such narcoleptic patients have, in addition, attacks of muscular weakness and loss of muscle tone, a condition referred to as cataplexy1; these attacks usually follow emotional experiences, such as hearty laughter, anger or surprise. That there is a relation between narcolepsy and cataplexy is generally conceded, although the mechanism is not understood. There are various theoretic explanations for the phenomena of sleep, but none is completely satisfactory.
Both narcolepsy and cataplexy appear to be symptoms rather than disease entities. Most clinicians are familiar with episodes of somnolence occurring in association with encephalitis, tumor of the brain, syphilis, endocrinology, blood dyscrasias, epilepsy, chronic systemic disease and the psychoneuroses. It is not the purpose of this paper to discuss in detail the symptomatology
DYNES JB, FINLEY KH. THE ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPH AS AN AID IN THE STUDY OF NARCOLEPSY. Arch NeurPsych. 1941;46(4):598–612. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1941.02280220031002
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