What is Kleine-Levin Syndrome?

Rip Van Winkle Disease, also known as Kleine-Levin syndrome is a rare disorder that causes recurring periods of excessive drowsiness and sleep (up to 20 hours per day). Symptoms, which may last for days to weeks, include excessive food intake, irritability, disorientation, lack of energy, and hypersensitivity to noise. Some patients may also experience hallucinations and an abnormally uninhibited sex drive. Affected persons are normal between episodes, although depression and amnesia may be noted temporarily after an attack. It may be weeks or more before symptoms reappear. Onset is typically around adolescence to the late teens. The disorder is 4 times more common in males than in females. Symptoms may be related to malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that governs appetite and sleep.

In KLS, the association of an infection before the onset of a disease, a young age at onset, a recurrence of symptoms and possible genetic predisposition is suggestive of an autoimmune disease.

The disorder appears to be benign and does not impact on intellect or physical function. Symptoms usually improve or disappear with advancing age.

NINDS supports a broad range of clinical and basic research on diseases causing sleep disorders, in an effort to clarify the mechanisms of these conditions and to develop better treatments for them.

Read Some of Jeff’s Story:

The pediatrician on staff suspected viral encephalitis. On Thursday, they started Jeff on acyclovir and something else I don’t recall. The next few days, the hospital did all kinds of tests- CAT Scan, MRI (very upsetting to Jeff), EEG, EKG, more blood and urine tests. They wanted to do another spinal tap and Jeff went crazy. He knew how much that hurt. The hospital staff didn’t want to allow either John or me in the room while they did the spinal tap. John told them if they didn’t allow one of us in the room, they weren’t going to do the test. So, I was permitted to be in the room, but was told to stand in the corner and keep my mouth shut. Children’s Hospital is a teaching hospital and well renowned for the job they do. An intern was the person trying to do the spinal. Jeff was not being very co-operative. There were 2 male nurses holding him down. They told me to hold his hands and try to calm him down. He bit me so I would let go and he spit on the nurses suede shoes so that he would let go and Jeff could get away. The ‘doctor’ got the needle………………

The Stanford Center for Narcolepsy is is devoted exclusively to narcolepsy research and therapy.

If you would like to make a contribution to the center, please make your check payable to:

Stanford University

and enclose a letter stating:

“the donation is a gift to be used for narcolepsy research”

Our mailing address is:

Dr. Emmanuel MignotDirector – Center For NarcolepsyStanford University School of MedicineDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences701B Welch Road – Room 145Palo Alto CA 94304-5742

Stanford University is a non-profit organization and gifts are tax deductible

Bibliography of case studies

Fear of Electric Shock to Pac-Man Game.

Researchers at University College London look to have taken a slightly unconventional approach in their studies on fear, with the BBC reporting that they’ve crafted a “Pac-Man-like” game that boasts the added risk of electric shock. Apparently, volunteers play the game while an MRI scanner monitors them, moving a blue triangle through a 2D maze while trying to avoid a red dot “predator.” If that dot catches them, they receive an electric shock. As that danger neared , the researchers found that players stopped using their their prefrontal cortex in their forebrain and instead relied on their midbrain area, which controls “gut-level reflexes.” At least that’s what they’re saying. We have a sneaking suspicion it may all just be an elaborate trick the researchers play on freshman students.

Via The Inquirer

The forebrain is active during periods of anxiety, and helps coordinate escape strategies to avoid the threat, he said.
But when the computer game predator moved nearer, blood flow switched to the midbrain.
The midbrain is a primitive area of the brain, and it controls gut-level reflexes such as the decision to fight or flee, said Dr Mobbs.
“When a fast response is needed, the midbrain may inhibit the prefrontal cortex,” he said.
“The closer a threat gets, the more impulsive your response – in effect, the less free will you have,” he added.
The prefrontal cortex is much larger in modern humans than it was in our ancestors, and so we may have evolved to be more adept at avoiding threatening situations, thinks Dr Mobbs.
“We are probably better survival machines now,” he said. source (BBC NEWS)

220 Million Pixels on New System at UCSD

A new super high resolution display system developed at UCSD is going to allow scientists to visualize data like never before.

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have constructed the highest-resolution computer display in the world – with a screen resolution up to 220 million pixels.
The processing power will come in handy for the kinds of large-scale applications that are likely to make use of the HIPerSpace system. Calit2 will make the displays available to teams of scientists or engineers dealing with very large data sets, from multiple gigabytes to terabytes, notably in the Earth sciences, climate prediction, biomedical engineering, genomics, and brain imaging. “The higher-resolution displays allow researchers to take in both the broad view of the data and the minutest details, all at the same time,” said Kuester. “HIPerSpace also allows us to experiment on the two campuses with distributed teams that can collaborate and share insights derived from a better understanding of complex results. This capability will allow researchers at two UC campuses to collaborate more intensively with each other, and eventually with other campuses, thanks to the rapid rollout of OptIPortals outside of California.”

The medical implications for this are astounding. Take a look at Siemens MRI BRAINLAB. these high resoultion monitors could be used in neurosurgery suites like the ones pictured in the BRAINLAB.

Chaga’s Disease

Chagas’ disease shown on MRI. Contrast-enhanced axial and coronal T1-weighted images of brain show multiple enhancing lesions (arrows) without significant mass effect. Involved areas include corpus callosum, periventricular white matter, deep white matter, subcortical regions, and cerebellum.

What is Chagas’ Disease?
Also called American trypanosomiasis (tri-PAN-o-so-MY-a-sis), Chagas’ disease is an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It is estimated that as many as 11 million people in Mexico, Central America, and South America have Chagas disease, most of whom do not know they are infected. If unrecognized and untreated, even silent infection is life long and can be life threatening.

The most recognized marker of acute Chagas disease is called Romaña’s sign, which includes swelling of the eyelids on the side of the face near the bite wound or where the bug feces were deposited or accidentally rubbed into the eye. Even if symptoms develop during the acute phase, they usually fade away on their own, within a few weeks or months. Although the symptoms resolve, the infection, if untreated, persists. Rarely, young children (myocarditis) or brain (meningoencephalitis). The acute phase also can be severe in people with weakened immune systems.

How is Chagas disease treated?
There are two approaches to therapy, both of which can be life saving:
antiparasitic treatment, to kill the parasite; and
symptomatic treatment, to manage the symptoms and signs of infection.
Antiparasitic treatment is most effective early in the course of infection but is not limited to cases in the acute phase. In the United States, this type of treatment is available through CDC. Your health care provider can talk with CDC staff about whether and how you should be treated. Most people do not need to be hospitalized during treatment.
Symptomatic treatment may help people who have cardiac or intestinal problems from Chagas disease. For example, pacemakers and medications for irregular heartbeats may be life saving for some patients with chronic cardiac disease.

11.7 Tesla Bruker BioSpin MRI

Well I thought 3 Tesla was alot, but at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD they has just installed a 11.7 Tesla Ultra Shielded Refrigerated (USR) system, a device simply called BioSpec 117/16 USR. This system doesn’t scan humans, it enables reserchers to take highly resolved routine images of the rat brain leading to outstanding quality. The signal-to-noise ratio obtained at this field strength allows one to acquire high resolution images of the microscopic structures in the brain!

Other Cool Things

Behold: Dell’s XPS 420

Should anyone be wondering what Dell’s got up its sleeve with its next-gen XPS system, here’s the scoop: the XPS 420 will be appropriately bigger, badder, better equipped, and even have fun features like a hardware MPEG-4 encoder and SideShow display up top.
Core 2 Duo, Extreme, or Quad (up to 8MB) processor options
Intel X38 Express chipset, DDR2 800 (up to 8GB)
MiniView LCD 3 x 2-inch QVGA display (runs SideShow on the front, picture after the break)
Dell Xcelerator – dedicated media coprocessor for transcoding video streams to MPEG-4 formats. Can cut encode time on a 2 hour HD movie in half and use far fewer CPU cycles.
SATA II (with RAID 0 or 1 support)
PCI Express x16, gigabit Ethernet
(2) front USB, (6) rear, (2) internal; one front and rear 1394; one eSATA, frontal audio ports

Some MiniView display modes
Default – shows time, date, month calendar, and system stats (including number of users connected)
PC monitoring – Shows detailed system stats like CPU speed / temp, available RAM, fan speeds, and other info like Service Tag (so you don’t have to keep that memorized anymore)
Audio, video, or picture mode – controls media access and playback (duh)

Nearly half of early breast cancers missed

Cancer screening programmes are failing to detect nearly half of the earliest cases of breast cancer according to research which suggests women’s lives could be saved if all were offered hi-tech MRI scans.
The study in the Lancet medical journal found that x-ray based mammograms detect only 56% of early lesions in high risk women compared with 92% when magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI), more commonly used for brain scans, are used. (SOURCE)

Christiane Kuhl, the lead researcher at the University of Bonn said: “If you picked up all cases of ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS] you would prevent virtually all cases of breast cancer. Our finding that MRI is superior to mammography in detecting it turns things upside down.”

Polly Curtis, health correspondentFriday August 10, 2007The Guardian

The Lancet study trialled MRI and mammography in 7,319 women referred from screening programmes, after having had a breast cancer or because there was a familial trait of cancer. Some 167 women were diagnosed with DCIS, 92% through the MRI but only 56% by mammogram. In women who had the most severe cases of DCIS, those most likely to lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer, MRI picked up on 98% and mammography on 52%.

“However, it is important to note that the women who took part in this study had a higher chance of an abnormality being found and therefore are not representative of the general population