Two years ago, a bizarre ordeal unfolded for Louisa Ball and her family. The then 15-year-old girl initially came down with flu-like symptoms. While it seemed like a normal occurrence (after all, everyone gets sick from time to time), Ball subsequently contracted a rare syndrome called "Sleeping Beauty Sickness" (Kleine-Levin Syndrome). As a result of the affliction, the young girl sleeps -- very literally -- for days at a time. MSNBC has more:
Doctors don’t know what causes it or how to cure it — only that it strikes teenagers and goes away by itself after eight to 12 years...
...victims worldwide may number no more than 1,000. The victims live normally for weeks or months at a time, with normal sleep patterns and normal energy levels. Then, with little warning, they’ll go to sleep for days or weeks at a time. So far, Louisa’s longest bout in bed has been 13 days.
KLS stumps modern medicine and has yet to be successfully treated. Researchers claim that the disorder effects the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain responsible for regulating appetite, sleep and libido. Thus, the disorder triggers sleep, aggressiveness and hyper sexuality. According to ABC News:
Mood stabilizers like lithium and hormone therapies help those with KLS around the edges, but they don't ward off the extreme sleep.
"[When I wake up] I'm always confused as to what day it is, because I don't know how long I've slept for," Louisa said. "And then when I realize, I'm like, 'Wow, that's a long time!'"
While some outlets first began to report on Ball's ordeal back in early 2010, ABC's Nightline covered the medical dilemma this week. Watch the fascinating report, below:
This bizarre illness certainly impedes the young girl's life, as she regularly sleeps through exams, family vacations and other important moments that most teenagers typically treasure. She and her family anxiously await the day when KLS no longer causes such saddening disruptions.