When you feel tired, you know it is time for you to go to bed but have you ever wondered if other people were able to have the same sensation? There are people in this world who have something known as FFI or fatal familial insomnia and those people struggle to get even a wink of sleep.
For those who do not know, FFI is an extremely rare condition that is usually passed down through generations because of a genetic fault. In almost all cases it is caused by a very specific mutation in the PRNP gene. This causes the protein made from it to be a different shape than it would be otherwise. Because of that, it cannot work correctly.
Most of the time, it begins affecting people anywhere between the age of 32-62 but it has happened before and after that age in some instances. Basically, you show little to no symptoms and then are unable to sleep, staying up for periods of time we would think are unimaginable.
Once it begins leaving the person unable to sleep they pass away within the next 12-18 months. There is no real treatment plan or cure at this time. Slowing down the progression of this disease is not yet possible and managing it is far more stressful than most realize. One FFI sufferer was able to postpone his death for quite some time through using several different methods, one of which is a sensory deprivation tank that allowed him to sleep for a few hours at a time. Most are not that lucky.
Could you imagine staying awake until it literally killed you? Progressive insomnia on this scale comes with a lot of other symptoms as well. You might also experience a loss of appetite, body temperature fluctuation, dementia, and weight loss. As those with this disease continue on they end up with things like hallucinations, severe confusion, and even uncoordinated movements.
It is not anything a person should have to go through and while it is rare, it is still quite frightening. While research on this is being done currently we do not know what the future will hold for those with the disease. If you want to keep updated as more research is done click here to check out the progress going on at Harvard Medical School in regards.
This makes me want to go get checked to see if I have any kind of mutation like this one. Could you imagine having to go through something like this? With about thirty families known to be affected this kind of thing could become more and more common as the years pass.
(Image Via: Pixabay)