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Narcolepsy type 1 features across the life span: age impact on clinical and polysomnographic phenotype

Patients with narcolepsy type 1 experience excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, and disrupted nocturnal sleep, which typically appear at a young age. However, patients with disease onset during childhood or older adulthood may represent a diagnostic challenge, and slight differences in narcolepsy type 1 phenotype have been reported at distinct life stages, sometimes with discordant findings.

Comparing for the first time both clinical and polysomnographic features of narcolepsy type 1 in a large number of untreated patients of different age groups, our study documented substantial modifications in the disease presentation with age, even though further investigations are required to confirm and extend our findings. Awareness of these age-dependent phenotypes will facilitate narcolepsy type 1 recognition among different specialists and could advantageously shorten the long diagnostic delay.

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