Narcolepsy type 1 is a central disorder of hypersomnolence characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, rapid eye movement sleep-related manifestations, and cataplexy. In the current literature there is general agreement regarding neural correlates of Narcolepsy type 1 that appear to be related to anatomical and functional abnormalities in the hypothalamic region. In the last two decades, researchers shed light on the neurological bases of cataplexy by focusing on the neurobiological correlates of emotions. Although the results of these studies differ, they all point to an impairment in the amygdala and hypothalamus functions that are known to be involved in emotional processing, suggesting an impairment in this domain in narcoleptic patients. Indeed, despite heterogeneous results, several studies showed that narcoleptic patients differed from healthy controls in processing emotional stimuli. From a behavioral point of view, these findings suggest that alterations in emotional processing may be driven, at least in part, by compensatory strategies to avoid or reduce the frequency of cataplexy attacks. Surprisingly, the only study exploring in NT1 the behavioural performances in emotional facial recognition found no differences between NT1 adults and controls. We hypothesize that narcoleptic patients may present an alteration in a more complex socio-cognitive ability that is related to emotional processing, namely Theory of Mind. This review aims to investigate the literature supporting this hypothesis and to propose possible future developments on this topic.

Narcolepsy and emotions: Is there a place for a theory of mind approach?

Del Sette, Paola;Lecce, Serena;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Narcolepsy type 1 is a central disorder of hypersomnolence characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, rapid eye movement sleep-related manifestations, and cataplexy. In the current literature there is general agreement regarding neural correlates of Narcolepsy type 1 that appear to be related to anatomical and functional abnormalities in the hypothalamic region. In the last two decades, researchers shed light on the neurological bases of cataplexy by focusing on the neurobiological correlates of emotions. Although the results of these studies differ, they all point to an impairment in the amygdala and hypothalamus functions that are known to be involved in emotional processing, suggesting an impairment in this domain in narcoleptic patients. Indeed, despite heterogeneous results, several studies showed that narcoleptic patients differed from healthy controls in processing emotional stimuli. From a behavioral point of view, these findings suggest that alterations in emotional processing may be driven, at least in part, by compensatory strategies to avoid or reduce the frequency of cataplexy attacks. Surprisingly, the only study exploring in NT1 the behavioural performances in emotional facial recognition found no differences between NT1 adults and controls. We hypothesize that narcoleptic patients may present an alteration in a more complex socio-cognitive ability that is related to emotional processing, namely Theory of Mind. This review aims to investigate the literature supporting this hypothesis and to propose possible future developments on this topic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1496975
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