Thursday, June 5, 2008

Historic Breakthroughs Set Stage for Today’s Sleep Research

More than 1,150 scientific abstracts will be presented at SLEEP 2008, displaying the latest findings in sleep research. This research follows the historic discoveries made in previous years by sleep scientists. These are some of the milestones in the history of sleep research, courtesy of the American Sleep Medicine Foundation:

1875 – Caton records the brain electrical activity of animals in England.
1880 – Gelineau describes a group of patients in France with a problem he names “
1929 - Berger discovers and reports the “electroencephalogram (EEG) of man” in Germany.
1937 – Loomis documents the EEG patterns of what is now called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
1945 – Ekbom describes
restless legs syndrome in Sweden.
1953 – Kleitman and Aserinsky at the University of Chicago describe the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep and propose a correlation with dreaming.
1957 – Dement and Kleitman describe the repeating stages of the human sleep cycle.
1966 – Gastaut and colleagues in France, and Jung and Kuhlo in Germany discover
obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
1972 – Studies pinpoint the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) as the site of the biologic clock.
1981 – Sullivan and colleagues use continuous positive airway pressure (
CPAP) to treat OSA.
1986 - Schenck, Mahowald and colleagues publish the first formal description of
REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD).
1989 – Rechtschaffen and colleagues find that total
sleep deprivation results in the death of all rats within two to three weeks.
1999 – Studies show that hypocretin mutations cause narcolepsy in mice and dogs.

2000 – Mignot and colleagues at Stanford discover that human narcolepsy also is associated with hypocretin deficiency.