The University of Oulu in Finland has promoted a recent MRI study showing narcolepsy alters pulsations that maintain the brain's waste clearance system.
Researchers imaged the brains of narcolepsy patients for the first time using fast functional MRI. The method has previously been used to study Alzheimer's disease as well as epilepsy and normal sleep, according to a news release from the university.
Three types of pulsations are associated with brain clearance: cardiovascular pulsations of the brain arteries produced by the heartbeat, respiratory pulsations of the veins and cerebrospinal fluid, and slow vasomotor fluctuation of the vessel walls. The study showed that people with narcolepsy experience changes in all three types of brain pulsation, the university said. Moreover, changes in pulsations were associated with the severity of the disease.
The findings could be useful in optimizing the treatment response to narcolepsy. The study was published in Communications Medicine.