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Med Hypotheses. 1997 Nov;49(5):379-87.

Disorders of the reticular activating system.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


The organization of components of the reticular activating system and their role in sleep-wake mechanisms and arousal are described. A functional model is proposed based on known neuroanatomical and neurophysiological findings. The involvement of these elements of the reticular activating system in various neurological and psychiatric disorders is discussed. A series of hypotheses are advanced to account for the role of these nuclei in such diverse disorders as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, REM behavior disorder, Parkinson's disease and narcolepsy. This line of reasoning suggests that, when neurological or psychiatric disorders manifest symptoms related to arousal and sleep-wake control, disturbances of elements of the reticular activating system must be considered responsible.

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