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Insights from studying human sleep disorders

Naturevolume 437pages12791285 (2005) | Download Citation



Problems with sleep are one of the commonest reasons for seeking medical attention. Knowledge gained from basic research into sleep in animals has led to marked advances in the understanding of human sleep, with important diagnostic and therapeutic implications. At the same time, research guided by human sleep disorders is leading to important basic sleep concepts. For example, sleep may not be a global, but rather a local, brain phenomenon. Furthermore, contrary to common assumptions, wakefulness, rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep are not mutually exclusive states. This striking realization explains a fascinating range of clinical phenomena.

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  1. Department of Neurology (MWM) and Psychiatry (CHS) Hennepin County Medical Center, Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center, and University of MN Medical School, Minneapolis, 55415, Minnesota, USA

    • Mark W. Mahowald
    •  & Carlos H. Schenck


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Competing interests

The authors declare competing financial interests: Mark W. Mahowald - Research/Grant Support: Takeda, Cephalon, Lorex, Neurocrine, GalaxoKlineSmith, Pharmacia, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelham, Aventis .

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Correspondence to Mark W. Mahowald.

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  1. Supplementary Movie

    Abnormal REM sleep behaviours documented in older men with 'REM sleep behaviour disorder'during sleep laboratory video-polysomnographic monitoring at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center. (MPG 5362 kb)

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