#AceHealthNews says acording to LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have found that the sleep disorder narcolepsy can sometimes be triggered by a scientific phenomenon known as “molecular mimicry”, offering a possible explanation for its link to a GlaxoSmithKline H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine.
Results from U.S. researchers showed the debilitating disorder, characterized by sudden sleepiness and muscle weakness, can be set off by an immune response to a portion of a protein from the H1N1 virus that is very similar to a region of a protein called hypocretin, which is key to narcolepsy.
This can happen in genetically susceptible people, the researchers said, adding that around 20 percent of the European population have the genetic profile making them vulnerable.
Previous studies in countries where GSK’s Pandemrix vaccine was used in the 2009/2010 flu pandemic have found its use was linked to a significant rise in cases of narcolepsy in children.
Studies in Britain, Finland, Sweden and Ireland found such a link, and GSK says at least 900 narcolepsy cases associated with the vaccine have so far been reported in Europe.
Narcolepsy is thought to be brought about by loss of function in “wakefulness” cells called hypocretin cells in one of the brain’s sleep centres.#health