Which came first, the sleepiness or the culture? Is there more narcolepsy in Japan?

capsule hotel

I’ve been reacquainting myself with sleep-related issues of late, as half of my current placement is in a sleep disorders team. When looking into narcolepsy, I was intrigued to note that rates of narcolepsy are about four times higher in Japan according to self report than they tend to be elsewhere. This got me thinking about my sleep-related observations from the two years I spent there, and I wondered about differences in the way that sleep seems to be conceptualised in Japanese culture.
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Internal conflicts – on treating distress with electrodes

Operation - the brain surgery edition

Part of my current placement involves working with children experiencing dystonia who are candidates for or who have had deep brain stimulation (DBS). Since I was relatively naive to the concepts, I have read up. DBS seems to be helpful to clients experiencing a range of motor-related physical problems, and is most commonly used with people experiencing Parkinson’s Disease, and more recently people experiencing various forms of dystonia. There are two main subtypes of dystonia: primary (a discrete condition) and secondary (resulting from other conditions such as brain injury). DBS seems to be more effective for people diagnosed with primary dystonia. This might be related to the heterogeneity of the secondary dystonia group. A paper by John Gardner about the history of DBS was helpful in positioning the treatment in a historical and sociocultural context, but some of the assertions in the paper concerned me.

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On being uncertain in certain places

Mount Hakkoda's Summit

I recently started my specialist placement: children’s neurosciences incorporating paediatric sleep and a complex motor disorders service. It has been fascinating so far, working with new client groups and in a hospital setting, which is novel to me. It has also been a culture shock, hence the title of this post.

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