Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Circle of Insanity

 A New Look at the Sleepless Brain
In 2014, Rachel Salas, director of ambulatory sleep services at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, tested how quickly insomniac patients could learn a simple motor task. Given that their brains were depleted of fuel, she reasoned, they’d probably do worse. Instead, they did far better. “Their brains were more plastic, more adaptive,” Salas says. It wasn’t the sleep deprivation: It was that their brains simply processed information faster, whether or not they had gotten enough sleep. In fact, other studies have found that insomniacs have heightened levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher overall brain metabolism, whether they were sleeping or awake.
“It’s like a light switch that’s always on, a car that’s always running” is how Salas describes the insomniac brain. Her findings add to the mounting evidence that insomnia is not just something that happens at night—the insomniac brain exists in a constant state of hyperarousal.

Here's why this is relevant for Narcolepsy-
It is possible to have low orexin levels and still have high cortisol levels.    And most of us do.
One of the most fundamental things about narcolepsy that nobody seems to understand is how debilitated we really are.  We are twice as sick as anyone realizes.   Because underneath those slack faces and paralyzed bodies-   we are completely wired,  our brains don't ever shut down.   And yet we still can't move.
Not only is our sleep not relaxing or refreshing,  we get to experience every moment of the nightmare.

It's not real mysterious that giving orexin blockers to insomniacs has been found to have  alarming adverse consequences....
Lowing orexin levels does not address the cortisol overproduction problem.
It's merely narcolepsy in a pill.