WHAT IS KLEINE-LEVIN SYNDROME?
Already in 1862 the French physician and psychiatrist Briere de Boismont described the first cases of what would later be called Kleine-Levin syndrome. Early 20th century doctors gathered more information about the mysterious disease. Little did report on patients who suffered from recurrent hypersomnia . Levin added that they were not only very sleepy, but also had extreme hunger.
Critchley analyzed previous studies and investigated cases he had encountered himself, mostly young men from the Royal Navy, where he had worked during World War II. He gave the syndrome its name from its two predecessors. Kleine-Levin syndrome (KLS) is also known as syndrome Kleine-Levin-Critchley, sleeping beauty syndrome, syndrome or periodic hibernation lethargy.
Although no figures are known, KLS is considered a very rare condition. For a scientific article from 2005 were examined 168 cases, including three from the Netherlands. The symptoms appeared to start on average at 17 years of age. There were more men than women KLS. On average, patients had long complaints about eight years, with seven episodes of approximately 10 days.
Hypersomnia, excessive sleepiness is the main symptom. Patients sleep 12 up to nearly 24 per day. Some people with KLS only awake to eat and go to the toilet. In the aforementioned article mentioned patients who had as much need for sleep that they lay snoring in school in the hallway or in the middle of the street.
Many people with this syndrome when they are awake problems with their cognitive functions. They have difficulty concentrating and suffer from memory problems and confusion. Also, speech problems and delusions occur. In addition, the behavior of KLS patients often changes. Some go extreme overeating, experiencing obsessions or obsessive sex involved.
The symptoms occur in episodes, interspersed with periods when patients have no symptoms.
The cause of Kleine-Levi Syndrome is unknown. Scientists have mapped out phenomena which occurred prior to the first period with hypersomnia. Some of the patients was found to have an infection, but the link between inflammation and KLS is still unclear.
Other researchers suggest that the syndrome is an autoimmune disease, a condition in which your immune system turns against the body. Or that something goes wrong in the brains. Genetic factors may play a role.
There is no treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study fails to medication, which is not clear which drugs really work. Patients have used various drugs, such as stimulants to stay awake and mood stabilizers, but these do not help anyone. Eventually the symptoms of the syndrome itself proceed.
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