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  • Sleeping Beauty, the classic timeless fairy tale of a beautiful princess charmed into

  • a deep sleep by an evil witch, and woken only after being sexually assaulted by a random

  • wandering prince who decided kissing unconscious women isn't something that should immediately

  • send you to prison.

  • Luckily, we live in a world where this in fact, can and will send you to prison- no

  • matter how princely or charming you are- but it turns out that sleeping beauty syndrome

  • is all too real.

  • And you might be surprised to hear that more often than not it's men who end up the victim

  • than women.

  • That would certainly put a new spin on the classic fairy tale.

  • Sleeping Beauty syndrome, or Kleine-Levin syndrome, is a form of hypersomnia, which

  • is basically the reverse of insomnia.

  • It's likely that most people will go through a bout of hypersomnia in their life- like

  • for instance after a giant turkey dinner on thanksgiving.

  • But people suffering from KL syndrome don't just find it difficult to remain awake or

  • take inappropriately long naps- sleep is basically all they do, sometimes for months at a time.

  • Actually, it's not quite that simple- after all, if all you did was sleep for months at

  • a time you'd quickly die of dehydration and starvation.

  • Sufferers instead will experience very brief moments of wakefulness during which they will

  • go to the bathroom, eat something quickly, and drink water.

  • Then it's back to bed for a snooze that can last a day or more.

  • Take the case of Rhoda Rodriguez-Diaz, an American college student diagnosed with KL

  • syndrome.

  • She suffered bouts of hypersomnia as a kid, but when she went to college she fell into

  • a weeks long sleeping episode that caused her to fail her second year of college.

  • Rhoda would sleep for 22 hours a day and wake up only to eat, drink, and use the bathroom.

  • As a result, she slept through her final exams and ended up failing.

  • What's strange is that Rhoda will go for months at a time without a single episode, and unlike

  • most medical conditions she'll feel perfectly fine and normal during that time.

  • Then out of nowhere the tiredness will come, and Rhoda will fall into an exhaustion that

  • can last for weeks.

  • Rhoda says that the worst thing about her condition is missing out on the rest of the

  • world while she slumbers away.

  • As she commented, the world doesn't stop when she goes to sleep, and it can be difficult

  • coming to terms with what's happened while she was asleep for several weeks.

  • Long term plans are all but impossible, and relationships are extremely difficult if not

  • impossible.

  • Another thing she hates is when people just think she's lazy, not an uncommon judgment

  • against sufferers of Kleine-Levin syndrome.

  • Rhoda's first sleeping bouts hit her when she was 4 or 5 years old, and she'd fall asleep

  • for two or three weeks at a time, leaving doctors puzzled.

  • Then suddenly her drowsiness cleared up until she was 15 or 16.

  • Though she didn't fall asleep for weeks at a time as she had as a child, she was plagued

  • with persistent fatigue, which made normal life very difficult.

  • Inevitably this led to teasing, and allegations that she was just lazy.

  • Then in college the long duration sleeps returned, completely upsetting Rhoda's life.

  • Rhoda ended up being expelled from school for failing to earn enough credits.

  • It wouldn't be until shortly after being expelled that she was officially diagnosed with KL

  • syndrome, and thanks to the official diagnosis she was able to re-enroll in college.

  • However, she faces persistent difficulties from her condition which will make her studies

  • even harder than they normally are.

  • Rhoda is one in about one to five people per million diagnosed with KL syndrome, making

  • this one of the rarest diseases in the world.

  • What's surprising is that the disease affects men much more often than women, with 70% of

  • sufferers being men.

  • It's likely to manifest in the teenage years, and naturally has a hugely disrupting effect

  • on people's lives.

  • Perhaps most frustratingly though is the fact that KL syndrome can simply disappear for

  • years at a time, and reappear a decade or more later to wreak havoc once again.

  • Sufferers will experience brief moments of wakefulness, though exhibit great mental confusion

  • and difficulty concentrating.

  • One girl in Columbia even forgot her mother's face after a 48 hour sleep session, hinting

  • that there's more going on in the brain than just tiredness from KL syndrome.

  • These brief waking spells are typically only so individuals can use the bathroom, eat,

  • drink, and then return to sleep, with people showing almost no energy or emotion while

  • awake.

  • Sufferers also complain of the world being visually out of focus and that light and noise

  • can feel overwhelming.

  • KL syndrome can also wreak havoc on a person's life in other ways however.

  • Sufferers will often gorge themselves on as much food as they can, almost like a bear

  • preparing for hibernation ,which is perhaps a very apt metaphor in this case.

  • However, one of the most perplexing symptoms is hallucinations, along with an extremely

  • heightened and uninhibited sex drive, which can certainly complicate someone's social

  • situation.

  • Even stranger, once a sleeping episode has passed, sufferers appear perfectly normal

  • and healthy, showing none of the psychological issues they had just endured.

  • Doctors have no idea what causes Kleine-Levin syndrome, though it's believed that it stems

  • from a dysfunction with the hypothalamus.

  • The hypothalamus helps regulate our sleep schedule, and people with tumors that affect

  • the hypothalamus can experience symptoms very similar to KL syndrome.

  • However, due to the variety of symptoms, experts believe that the disease affects several areas

  • of the brain simultaneously, only adding to the mystery.

  • Some doctors have even hypothesized that it might have to do with the body's immune system

  • attacking the brain directly, as many sufferers have also been discovered to have another

  • infectious disease.

  • Whatever causes KL syndrome, it's likely that it's genetic as the disease is much more prevalent

  • in Jewish populations than non-Jewish people.

  • While it's hoped that future breakthroughs in genetic research can isolate a cause, and

  • produce a fix, for now there remains no treatment for KL syndrome.

  • Adding to the difficulty of researching the disease is that there's so few people affected

  • that it can be difficult to find willing research subjects.

  • The random nature of the episodes, and the multi-year stretch between attacks also makes

  • researching Kleine-Levin syndrome next to impossible.

  • For now, treatment with lithium has shown some promise, with two studies showing that

  • lithium treatment had positive effects on 20 to 40% of research participants.

Sleeping Beauty, the classic timeless fairy tale of a beautiful princess charmed into

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B1 syndrome kl sleep sleeping sleeping beauty levin

Sleeping Beauty Syndrome (Rare Sleep Disorder)

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    Summer posted on 2021/03/31
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