2007-01-28 New Way to Fight Insomnia Explored


Researchers studying a disease that causes people to suddenly drop off to sleep are trying to turn what they have learned into a new way to help insomniacs get some shut-eye.

They found that blocking brain receptors for orexin, a blood peptide, promoted sleep in rats, dogs and people, according to a paper in Sunday's online issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

Orexin, also known as hypocretin, is important in maintaining wakefulness. It is absent in the brains of people who suffer from narcolepsy, a chronic disorder in which people cannot regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. It is estimated to affect more than 135,000 people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.(Read entire article)