Published on Mar 31, 2012 by jimmutdosch
Alanna Wong on Anderson Cooper Show. Extreme Sleep Disorders. Alanna has Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS). Please visit http://www.klslife.com for more information.
What is KLS?
What is KLS?
Kleine-Levin Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder which affects roughly 1000 known patients worldwide. It is a life-altering illness which is widely misunderstood and frequently misdiagnosed as a psychological illness. The illness often strikes in adolescence and many sufferers exhibit symptoms for years before the illness appears to taper off. KLS is a devastating illness which robs the patient of time, experiences, and relationships.
KLS is episodic, meaning that the patient alternates between sick and healthy states. Episodes vary in duration and can last days, weeks, months, or even years. When in an episode, a KLS sufferer functions in a dream-like or altered state and can exhibit periods of excessive sleep and altered personality traits. In between episodes the patient seems normal with no outward signs of behavioral dysfunction. When healthy, a patient may not have much memory of the time spent ill.
During a KLS episode, blood flow is reduced to the thalamus region of the brain, particularly the hypothalamus which regulates the basic human drives of fight, flight, food, and sex. The decreased blood flow is either the cause or effect of KLS resulting in physical and behavioral changes such as excessive sleep and hunger, altered personality, and a dream-like state. When supporting a KLS sufferer it is important to remember that behavioral changes are not a choice but are in fact caused by a change in brain function.
KLS is a devastating illness. Family and friends can provide crucial support and comfort by acknowledging the illness and letting the sufferer know that they are loved. Understanding, loyalty, and friendship can help a patient through difficult times.
Willi Kleine and Max Levin are doctors that in the early 1900s described cases of recurrent hypersomnolence and hyperphagia with altered behavior- hence Kleine Levin Syndrome.
The cause of Kleine-Levin Syndrome is still unknown. Some theories suggest that KLS could be caused by a viral or bacterial component while others explore the possibility of a genetic susceptibility to KLS. There are also those who believe that KLS may be affected by the immune system. It is possible that the illness is caused by a combination of factors. The following is a link to the KLS foundation Status of KLS Research at Stanford University:
Click here to learn more about Alanna.