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Emory neurologist awarded $2.1 million grant to research sleep disorders

Emory neurologist Lynn Marie Trotti has earned a five-year, $2.1 million grant for clinical research on sleep disorders.

The grant, issued by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, will give Trotti and her colleagues with the Emory Sleep Center the chance to build on decades of research regarding the mechanisms behind the antibiotic clarithromycin, a generic drug typically used to treat skin, ear, sinus or lung infections.

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According to a university news release, Trotti and her team previously discovered the antibiotic “can reduce pathological sleepiness in people for whom more conventional treatments were not satisfactory.” 

This study, she says, “will allow us to learn more about the biology of understudied sleep disorders, and could resolve some questions about how clarithromycin works” and “could provide a foundation for the future development of needed therapies.”

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The new clinical research is designed for people under age 45 diagnosed with either narcolepsy type 2 or idiopathic hypersomnia, both of which “have excessive daytime sleepiness as the primary symptom.”

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of American adults report they usually receive less than the recommended amount of sleep, which is linked to several chronic diseases and conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and obesity.

And there are multiple kinds of sleep disorders out there, from obstructive sleep apnea to hypersomnia to narcolepsy, but “many sleep specialists have argued that distinctions between narcolepsy type 2 and idiopathic hypersomnia are arbitrary, and the pathology and mechanisms behind them are equally unclear,” Trotti says. “That’s why we are including both in our study.”

Read more at news.emory.edu.

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