Monday, January 26, 2009

Surgery Helps “Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep”

ABC News and Good Morning America report that a risky surgery has helped a 3-year-old boy who was unable to sleep.

Before the surgery Rhett Lamb was awake nearly 24 hours a day. Although his body was exhausted, his mind remained alert.

The sleepless nights caused plenty of trouble. He had mood and behavioral problems. He couldn’t even speak. Overall he was functioning at the level of an 18-month old.

His problems also took a toll on his parents. They were emotionally and physically exhausted. Caring for him around the clock caused them to suffer from sleep deprivation too.

For years his parents struggled to find the source of his problem. Finally a doctor discovered the cause:
chiari malformation.

CM occurs when the space at the lower rear of the skull is too small. This puts pressure on the brain and pushes it downward. As a result brain tissue may be forced into the spinal canal.

The surgery appears to have been a success. Rhett shocked his parents when he slept through the night for the first time. They rushed to his room in the morning to make sure he was breathing.

Now that he is sleeping well, Rhett’s development has improved dramatically. For the first time in his life he is interacting and playing with other children.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This just makes me wonder how many other sleep disorders are being misdiagnosed mental illness or retardation. I have held my breath in my sleep since birth. The doctors just shrugged and said everyone does it. I'm now 61. I currently have a diagnosis of sleep apnea (50% obstructive, 50% central) and bipolar disorder. I'm taking Lamictal.

I'm not convinced about the bipolar diagnosis but the treatment gets me through the mornings productively. After that, back to sleep for a while. I'm on disability. It's a blessing, but a shame that I've had to struggle so much trying to keep jobs and failing in school.

I would definitely be interested in any suggestions for further treatment.

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