Monday, August 29, 2011

Kleine-Levin Syndrome: Real-life Sleeping Beauties

From Real-life Sleeping Beauties by Robert Williams:

Nicole Delien, a 14-years-old resident of Scott Township, admits that she is sometimes afraid of falling asleep. At times, she can fall into a deep slumber for many weeks, and this makes her miss out on everything—school, family events and fun. Her mom, Vicki, expressed her fear that her daughter might just sleep through her high school years. Presently, she goes to school but takes extra care not to do anything else outside her home as she might just fall asleep suddenly and fall into an accident.

Fifteen-year-old Louisa Ball, an English girl, can remain asleep for days or even weeks. Her prolonged sleeping spells often put her parents in a dilemma. They have a hard time maintaining good nutrition for her because Louisa herself does not eat or drink anything during this time. This condition started in October 2008 after she recovered from a week-long flu. Whenever she wakes up from her bouts of “hibernation,” she goes straight to the kitchen to feed her famished body.

Lily Clarke, 21-years-old, can sleep for almost two months and cannot be woken up. She missed out on her own 18th birthday because she fell asleep a few days before that. This condition started in 2007 and it has greatly impeded her life, as she had already slept through her University exams and Christmas holidays. Her mom, Adele, reported that Lily’s extended naps can stretch as long as 7 months and she is very worried about this.

These girls share the same nickname of Sleeping Beauty in real life. Fairytale-like as the name sounds, their lives are far from being a princess. They all suffer from a rare condition called Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), also known as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome or Rip Van Winkle Disease. It is a neurological disorder characterized by altered behavior and excessive amounts of sleep.

The article is longer so click through to read the rest. It also has an entry on Wikipedia and a foundation website and a page on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke site.

I really should have a list of science and medical concepts/conditions that use fairy tale names because there are several...Somebody get right on that for me, okay?

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