In humans, narcolepsy is a debilitating and important sleep disorder that was first described in 1877 by Westphal, a German physician, based on his observation of a patient with sudden sleep attacks associated with symptoms of motor incapacity and aphasia. He considered it a form of epilepsy. Three years later, the French neurologist Gélineau (Fig. 24.1) described the disorder for the first time as a distinct clinical entity rather than a symptom of another condition, and proposed the term narcolepsy, meaning “sleep seizure”. In the 1880 paper, Gélineau described a patient who, from the age of 36, began to fall asleep suddenly during the day and had sudden falls or “astasia” (cataplexy), which occurred whenever he became emotional.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)