About Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research
The Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research (CNSHR) at the College of Nursing (University of Illinois at Chicago [UIC]) was established in 1986 to help increase knowledge and awareness of narcolepsy and to provide information and support to those affected by this disorder. Narcolepsy is characterized by abnormal drowsiness during the day, sudden extreme muscle weakness (cataplexy), hallucinations, paralysis while sleeping, and/or disrupted sleep during the night. The development and severity of symptoms vary greatly among affected individuals. The CNSHR staff, along with faculty and graduate students from UIC, collaborates in conducting various studies. Networking activities are undertaken with other sleep researchers and clinicians at sleep disorder centers throughout the Chicago metropolitan region. Ongoing investigations are being conducted into areas such as memory and the speed of cognitive processing, the prevalence of sleep pattern disturbance among adolescents, and appropriate symptom management. Research activities also include the measurement of bio-behavioral aspects of excessive daytime sleepiness; the study of how narcolepsy symptoms develop and appropriate management techniques; the enhancement of coping skills for people with narcolepsy and their families; the study of learning, memory, and cognitive processing of people with narcolepsy; and the investigation of new methods of treatment for narcolepsy. Clinical work includes counseling and educational activities for people with narcolepsy. The Center’s staff works closely with the Midwest Narcolepsy Support Group (MSNG), an independently run support group for people with narcolepsy and their friends or family members. The Center also seeks to educate health care professionals about narcolepsy and other disorders of excessive sleepiness. The CNSHR maintains a patient registry of several hundred research volunteers. This registry may serve as a model for research into other chronic neurological disorders. The Center fields questions from physicians, teachers, and nurses on current scientific knowledge about sleep disorders.