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Sporadic Fatal Insomnia - Articles Surfing

Insomnia is a difficult condition for anyone to deal with at the best of times, but there is a variation of insomnia called sporadic fatal insomnia. It's an extremely a rare condition which physically affects an individuals ability to sleep. It does this to such an extent that every known case has proven fatal.

Unlike the more common type of insomnia that you or I may suffer from, sporadic fatal insomnia is not caused by external influences such as stress, anxiety, diet or other difficulties. Rather, it is an internal condition caused by a deficient protein called prion.

The prion interferes with the person's ability to sleep by affecting a particular area of the brain called the thalamus, which directly controls and influences sleep. It's called sporadic fatal insomnia because it can occur spontaneously in an otherwise healthy individual.

It's interesting, if slightly worrying, that the same defective gene responsible for sporadic fatal insomnia is the same one responsible for BSE, or so called mad cow disease.

Symptoms of sporadic fatal insomnia will usually begin to exhibit themselves in people between the ages of forty and sixty, although it has been found in people as young as thirty. Initially, the sufferer begins to have difficulty with sleeping, which progresses into trouble controlling their movement. The condition worsens fairly rapidly and eventually ends in dementia, with an increasing loss of ability to distinguish between dreams and reality.

Ultimately, unable to cope without sleep and losing their hold on reality, the sufferer will die. This usually within one to three years. There is no known cure for sporadic fatal insomnia.

Fortunately, the condition is extremely rare. In addition, it is believed to be genetically transferred, although recent research into the similarity between sporadic fatal insomnia and BSE, which is able to be passed from one person to another, may subsequently prove that to be untrue.

It's unlikely that sporadic fatal insomnia will be mistaken for common insomnia. The symptoms, whilst possibly similar at first, soon show their differences. Having said that, it's speculated that cases of dementia may have been diagnosed incorrectly, supporting the theory that there have been more cases of sporadic fatal insomnia than have been reported.

Submitted by:

Peter Coughlin

Peter Coughlin writes on health related issues for various ezines, websites and publications. For more information about insomnia and other sleep disorders please visit his dealing with insomnia website.



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