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Preliminary study relates schizophrenia and narcolepsy type 1 with changes in positron emission tomography

July 7, 2021

Research published by the renowned Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine investigates tomographic differences in neurological exams of adolescents and young adults patients with schizophrenia and narcolepsy type 1. According to this preliminary study, published in April edition, there are different findings in positron emission in patients with both disorders. This investigation was conducted by the referring center for children with abnormal sleep in Taiwan.

Institutional Review Board of Chang Gung Hospital, Taiwan, approved this study to be applied in 44 participants total, which 62.8% was male, with 9-22 years old. These patients were separated into 4 groups:

  • Group A with schizophrenia and narcolepsy type 1 diagnosis;
  • Group B had narcolepsy type 1 diagnosis;
  • Group C with schizophrenia diagnosis;
  • Group D was healthy control group.

All of them were submitted to a sleep and psychiatric disorders interview, questionnaires, continuous performance testing (CPT), Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST), polysomnography (PSG), multiple sleep latency test and actigraphy (MSLT), and positron emission tomography (PET). Neurovirtual BWIII PSG Plus Sleep System was chosen for PSG during sleep.

The results may bring a new perspective to the association between schizophrenia and narcolepsy type 1. With the help of Neurovirtual’s equipment, it was possible to identify in PSG that the group with both diagnosis (Group A) had substantially more rapid eye movement periods. It also showed that, comparing it with the healthy control group, group A had less stage 2 sleep, slow wave sleep than those patients with only schizophrenia and higher periodic limb movement index (PLMI) than groups with just one diagnosis.

Differences between Group A and three others were also identified in positron emission tomography, continuous performance tests and Wisconsin card sorting tests. In the last two, group A had the worst performance. And in PET, Group A had a considerable presence of hypometabolism in many places, such as: right mid-frontal, right posterior cingulum, right orbital inferior frontal, left amygdala, and bilateral striatum, substantia nigra, basal ganglia and thalamus.

Doctors admit that this study had several limitations and they know that the association between schizophrenia and narcolepsy is still controversial, but several mechanisms are possible and the differences presented in those tests demonstrated that this research can be a first step towards correlating both disorders.

Original article: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine – Vol. 17, No. 4

Different positron emission tomography findings in schizophrenia and narcolepsy type 1 in adolescents and young adults: a preliminary study

Wei-Chih Chin, MD, Feng-Yuan Liu, MD, Yu-Shu Huang, MD, PhD, Ing-Tsung Hsiao, PhD, Chih-Huan Wang, PhD, Ying-Chun Chen, MD.

Published Online: April 1, 2021.

Keywords: psychosis; hypersomnia; multiple sleep latency tests; image studies; neurocognitive function; BWIII PSG Plus; polysomnography; PSG.

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