My Shocking Story: Dying to Sleep - This Discovery Channel documentary film gives a shocking glimpse in one of the rarest and deadliest genetic disorder called “Fatal Familial Insomnia” (FFI). The disorder is triggered by a Prion that is caused by a mutation in a protein molecule. The infectious protein attacks the thalamus region of the brain that also performs the crucial function of regulating sleep patterns for the human body. The epidemiology of the disorder is not restricted by gender, but it usually occurs during later years in an individual’s life. The average age may be 50 and it is likely to afflict people within the age bracket of 30 to 60.
The disorder involves a genetic diathesis; therefore, if an individual has an inherent propensity to developing this disorder, his life is more or less like a ‘time bomb’ and FFI can afflict him at any point in his life. The Discovery Channel documentary film features interviews from various individuals, who are known to possess the prion in their chromosome and have had a family history involving this disorder. The Discovery Channel documentary film is highly informative and further lays out all the symptoms and the exact prognosis of the disorder that largely ends with the individual succumbing to it between 7 and 36 months from the onset. The symptoms of FFI are divided into 4 categories; the disorder is highly progressive and there is now known cure for it.
The onset of FFI is usually marked by sleeplessness, paranoia, phobia and elevated levels of anxiety. The disorder progresses in to the second stage and the individual may start suffering hallucination and delirium and in the third stage, the individual is completely sleep deprived and loses weight rapidly. The fourth stage is marked by full-blown symptoms similar to dementia and the individual may become unresponsive and then subsequently the patient passes away. The Discovery Channel documentary film is informative and raises awareness about this issue. The disorder is highly rare, which makes research and development of a cure slightly troublesome; however, the Discovery Channel documentary film fills everyone with the hope that a treatment might soon become available for those who suffer from it.
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