What is the difference between sleep and unconciousness?

Hilary h.fisher at law.uq.edu.au
Sat Feb 24 22:01:53 EST 2001

> >I don't know of any disease which causes one to lose the ability to
> >sleep, so I can't say. Run-of-the-mill insomnia isn't that since it's
> >just a out-of-sync biological clock.
> What if someone sustained damage to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which I
> been told controls circadian rhythm in the brain? Or for that matter any
> of the hypothalmus?
> Someone else on a neurology forum referenced a Cuban man who had
> as a kid, which wrecked his either thalamus or hypothalamus, and he didn't
> sleep for forty years. Apparently he "rested" or went into a light stage
of one
> and tiny bits of two sleep, no 3, 4 or REM.  He needed to "rest" though,
> felt it akin to meditation. Anyways, they couldn't induce any sleep with
> medication on him. He was apparently evauated at the Stanford Sleep Center
> in the 80's but I haven't been able to find any reference to this study.

I saw a documentary recently (Australian TV) which described a rare genetic
condition in which the sufferer suddenly became unable to sleep at all. No
drugs or other treatment were able to induce sleep. The sufferers lived for
about 6 months (I think) without any sleep and finally died. I'm a layman
and am afraid that's all I recollect.


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