Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mystery of Sleepless Boy Solved - He Had Chiari Malformation


This is wild. Rhett Lamb, a 3-year old from St. Petersburg, FL, is almost always awake. He sleeps maybe two hours a day at best. So what's the deal? Here's the story from ABCNews.com:

"Not long ago, saying goodnight to his mom and dad was nearly impossible for 3-year-old Rhett Lamb. In a case that baffled doctors, Rhett was awake nearly 24 hours a day.

"His body would give out but his mind wouldn't; he'd still be awake," said Rhett's mom, Shannon Lamb. "He'd still be alert. It was extremely scary."

One of the side effects of Rhett's lack of sleep was bad behavior. "He was in a bad mood all the time," Lamb said. "He couldn't play, he didn't interact with other children. His frustration level was so high, and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse. He couldn't communicate with anyone. It was heartbreaking."

After dozens of doctors' visits and years of conflicting opinions, Rhett was finally diagnosed with a rare brain condition called chiari malformation.

Chiari malformation is a neurological disorder in which the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine, causing a number of symptoms, including sleeplessness.

Once diagnosed, doctors were able to perform a risky surgery that offered a 50-50 chance Rhett would be able to sleep normally for the first time."

To read the complete article and watch a video about Rhett, visit this page on ABCNews.com.

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