Home » Health » Diseases and Conditions

Fatal Familial Insomnia, A Death Sentence?

Apr 14, 2008
Sometimes we all feel down and depressed. But just realizing there are people in this world that are worse off than us always makes us count our blessings.

So next time you're tossing and turning and wishing for sleep, tune in to this story. It'll make you realize how lucky you are.

No matter how bad our sleeping problems cause us to feel, there are ways to overcome them. It can be as simple as reducing the stress in our lives or as complicated as needing several visits to a sleep clinic. You may have heard the saying, "Nobody ever died from lack of sleep". However that's simply not true...

Fatal Familial Insomnia, or FFI, is a rare genetic disease that runs in families. Those unfortunate enough to develop this disease have between seven months to three years left to live - if that's what you can call it. There's no relief and no cure.

Symptoms of fatal familial insomnia.

The age that FFI strikes can be as early as thirty, though between forty to sixty is more common. The first symptoms are frequent bouts of insomnia and fatigue, although these usually go unrecognised. Some sufferers experience phobias or panic attacks due to the lack of deep sleep. This is the first stage of this dreadful disease.

Fatal familial insomnia then takes it's victims through worsening panic attacks and strange phobias. Sufferers are caught in the hinterland between sleep and wakefulness. Because the brain is deprived of sleep, hallucinations develop and bodily functions can start to break down. Sleep medications just make the symptoms worse.

From then on it's a constant decline of both physical and mental health. The victims lose a lot of body weight and also loose the ability to communicate. In the final stage sufferers cannot speak or walk and experience incontinence. Finally they lapse into a coma and die.

Although FFI has been around for many generations, it's only recently been recognised, previously diagnosed as mental illness. The only hope of a cure depends on gene therapy, a new therapy which has yet to prove itself.

The theory is locating a faulty gene which leads to the development of FFI and replacing it with a normal gene. Although this seems fairly cut & dried, the normal gene hasn't yet been isolated.

In order for gene therapy to work, people who are at risk need to be tested before they reach childbearing age to avoid FFI being passed on to the next generation. A cure therefore rests on not just the identification of the genes, but the willingness of likely victims to come forward for testing.

Research marches on in the hope of finding a cure. Benefits may also involve those suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jacob (mad cow) and other similar genetic diseases.

Many thanks must go to the family members, both alive or dead, for their willingness to participate in the research into FFI to help others avoid the suffering they themselves had to experience. Their courage hopefully will lead the way to a cure in the not too distant future.
About the Author
Want to know how to improve your sleep? Visit Insomnia Connection Articles for a large range of articles on all sleep related matters. Wendy Owen, HH Dip (Holistic Health Therapy) is a natural health researcher and author.
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 194
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources