Introducing Professor Karel Šonka’s scientific group
This team, which works at the department of Neurology and Centre of Clinical Neurosciences of the First Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University and the General University Hospital, consists of Professors Karel Šonka and Soňa Nevšímalová, Docents Iva Příhodová and David Kemlink, Junior Lecturer MUDr. Simona Dostálová, five postgraduate and three undergraduate students. The group also includes two neurologists and a team of nurses.
This group focuses on research of disfunctions of sleep and wakefulness and its research is based on its clinical work which covers the entire age range, including children. Its research focuses on disorders which entail excessive sleepiness during the day (narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia, their aetiology, pathophysiology, therapy, and social aspects), parasomnia in NREM and REM sleep (especially behavioural disorders during REM sleep), disorders of movement during sleep (especially the restless legs disorder), and disorders of breathing during sleep. In its research of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia, the team follows in the footsteps of its founder, Docent Bedřich Roth (1919–1989), an internationally respected expert in this field.
Collaboration, grants, and projects
Our sleep research group closely collaborates with other teams at the Department of Neurology and within the framework of the First Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University and General University Hospital, we also cooperate with the Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Department of Radiodiagnosis, Institute of Anatomy, the 3rd Medical Department, as well as with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University (Docent Rusz), and with the National Institute of Mental Health (MUDr. Bušková). Our group has been cooperating for a number of years with the Centre for Sleep Disorders in Montpellier (Professors Dauvilliers and Billiard), with the Narcolepsy Centre at the Stanford University in California (Professor Mignot), Institute of Neurogenomics of the Helmholtz Centre in Munich (Professor Winkelmann), and other European and non-European teams and institutes. The Centre of Disorders of Sleep and Wakefulness of the Neurology Department is a founding member of the European Narcolepsy Network. It its current form, the team has already implemented a number of projects and was the lead researcher in one. Members of our team are part of the International REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Study Group, within whose framework they participate in various research projects. Our team, especially docent Kemlink, is also similarly active in the European Restless Legs Study Group.
The team is currently engaged in research linked to grant AZV MZ ČR ‘Behaviour disorder in REM sleep – clinical manifestations, links, development’ (chief investigator Professor Šonka), is a co-researcher and co-initiator of an international grant financed by Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research ‘Automatic acoustic analysis of speech and behaviour disorders in REM sleep aimed at finding subjects at high risk for the development of Parkinson’s disease and other alpha-synucleinopathies’, on which it collaborates with centres in Milan, Rochester, Montreal, Montpellier, Marburg, and Innsbruck (chief investigator Docent Rusz of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University). On top of that, members of our team are co-researchers of Charles University grant Progres Q27/LF1 and individually participate in further grant projects.
Our team is also active in projects focused on idiopathic hypersomnia, delayed sleep phases, developmental aspects of breathing disorders in sleep, and methodology of actigraphy monitoring.
In recent years, four postgraduate students completed their courses within our team. In the past five years, members of our team published as first or corresponding authors in the following journals: Sleep (1x), Sleep Medicine (8x), Journal of Sleep Research (3x), BMC Neurology (1x), Clinical Neuropharmacology (1x), Česká a slovenská neurologie a neurochirurgie (6x), Archivum Immunologiae et Therapia Experimentalis (1x), Physiological Research (1x), Neuroendocrinology Letters (3x), Behavioral Sleep Medicine (1x), and Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (1x).
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