Narcolepsy isn't quite like how it's portrayed in the movies.
Alan Kanouff, a sleep specialist at the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania, said that a disorder that can be played for laughs on film or viral videos is truly debilitating for those who deal with it. Narcoleptics suffer from hypersomnia, or an abnormal need for sleep, and have what Kanouff called "drop attacks," where they fall asleep suddenly and seemingly at random.
The test to determine if a person has narcolepsy, Kanouff said, requires two parts. First, the patient is observed overnight, and then they're tasked with napping five times in a day, after the full night's sleep.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec / Mall patrons visit booths for Health-O-Rama at the Logan Valley Mall on Friday. The expo featured four speakers and 38 tables providing health information.
"Think of how hard that is if you're not a sleepy person," he said.
Kanouff was one of four presenters at the Health-O-Rama Health and Wellness Expo, held Friday at the Logan Valley Mall. The event brought together four speakers and booths from various health care facilities in the region.
Kanouff's presentation focused on sleep disorders and their connection to traumatic brain injury. Earlier on Friday, George Zlupko, also with the Lung Disease Center, spoke about early detection of medical problems. The final two presentations were from two more center doctors, Michael Zlupko and Timothy Lucas, who gave presentations on endobronchial ultrasounds and drowsy driving, respectively.
The expo, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., was held in front of the mall's J.C. Penney's store. A number of visitors came just to the expo, but it drew in other shoppers as the day went on.
A total of 38 different health and wellness organizations set up tables at the expo, meeting with people to discuss their services and health concerns and offering a few goodies to those in attendance. Health-O-Rama was sponsored by the Altoona Mirror.
Amy Nedostup, an audiologist with the Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Central Pennsylvania, said it's important for medical professionals to do outreach events, like the expo, to connect with and better inform people.
"It gives us an opportunity to educate patients," Nedostup said.
Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.