University of Illinois at Chicago
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Pupillometric assessment of sleepiness in narcolepsy

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-03-21, 00:00 authored by Bharati Prasad, Young K. Choi, Terri E. Weaver, David W. Carley
Purpose: Excessive daytime sleepiness is highly prevalent in the general population, is the hallmark of narcolepsy, and is linked to significant morbidity. Clinical assessment of sleepiness remains challenging and the common objective multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) and subjective Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS) methods correlate poorly. We examined the relative utility of pupillary unrest index (PUI) as an objective measure of sleepiness in a group of unmedicated narcoleptics and healthy controls in a prospective, observational pilot study. Methods: Narcolepsy (n = 20; untreated for >2 weeks) and control (n = 56) participants were tested under the same experimental conditions; overnight polysomnography was performed on all participants, followed by a daytime testing protocol including: MSLT, PUI, sleepiness visual analog scale (VAS), ESS, and the psychomotor vigilance test (PVT). Results: The narcolepsy and control groups differed significantly on psychomotor performance and each measure of objective and subjective sleepiness, including PUI. Across the entire sample, PUI correlated significantly with objective (mean sleep latency, SL) and subjective (ESS and VAS) sleepiness, but none of the sleepiness measures correlated with performance (PVT). Among narcoleptics, VAS correlated with PVT measures. Within the control group, mean PUI was the only objective sleepiness measure that correlated with subjective sleepiness. Finally, in an ANCOVA model, SL and ESS were significantly predictive of PUI as measure of sleepiness. Conclusion: The role of PUI in quantifying and distinguishing sleepiness of narcolepsy from sleep-satiated healthy controls merits further investigation as it is a portable, brief, and objective test.


This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, R01 NR4959. Additional support was provided by Mr. J. A. Piscopo, and Cephalon, Inc. The authors thank Kevin Grandfield for editorial assistance.


Publisher Statement

This document is protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00035


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