Increased prevalence of obesity in narcoleptic patients and relatives

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Abstract

Increased Body Mass Indices (BMIs), increased prevalences of non insulin-dependent diabetes and sleep apnoe syndrome have been reported to be associated with narcolepsy. Our objective was to explore and possibly confirm the association of narcolepsy and increased BMI. In addition, we addressed the question whether increased BMIs also occur in relatives of narcoleptic patients. Together with narcolepsy-related clinical parameters we measured body weight and height of 132 narcoleptic patients who agreed to participate in our narcolepsy research program. In addition, 52 first degree relatives of 22 index patients, mostly from multiplex families, were included in the study. Data were compared to published general population surveys, recently conducted in Germany and Switzerland as well as to collective of 104 psychiatric inpatients. Narcoleptic patients had significantly increased BMIs in comparison to general populations or psychiatric controls. BMIs of first degree relatives were lower than those of index patients but significantly higher than those found in the general population. BMIs were not related to symptom severity or to medication status. Thus, the elevated BMIs appeared not to be secondary to behavioral consequences of narcolepsy but may reflect a trait at least partially common to index patients and relatives.

Received: 12 October 2000 / Accepted: 26 February 2001