Kleine-Levin Syndrome: Sleep 10 days at a time? You might have it.


“I was hallucinating and after that I don’t remember anything. All of a sudden it just went blank and I just slept for 10 days. I woke up and I was fine again.” [...]

“I was hallucinating and after that I don’t remember anything. All of a sudden it just went blank and I just slept for 10 days. I woke up and I was fine again.” [...]

Louisa is unusual as KLS usually affects teenage boys, who can also exhibit hypersexuality and inappropriate behaviour.

As well as excessive sleeping, symptoms include behaviour changes, irritability, feeling in a dream-like state and binge eating, symptoms that can be mistaken for normal teenage behaviour. [...]

The change in behaviour before and during a sleep episode is one of the most upsetting things for Louisa’s parents, who take it in turns to remain with her. Doctors have told the family it’s crucial to wake Louisa once a day to feed her and get her to the bathroom.

But Lottie admits it can take a while to get her to come round. “I’ve tried before to literally force her to wake up but she just starts swearing and gets so agitated and aggressive.” [...]

Many sufferers have abnormalities in their temporal lobe, the area of the brain involved in behaviour and memory. A scan of Louisa’s brain function revealed she does have abnormalities in her frontal lobe but there are no signs that this has affected her behaviour or memory. (via.)


A tilt of the head influences perceived attractiveness


“A gap in our knowledge, however, is the evolutionary origin of what is considered masculine and feminine about facial features. Our research investigated if looking at the face from different perspectives as a result of the height differential between men and women influenced perceived masculinity or femininity. The research found the way we angle our faces affects our attractiveness to the opposite sex.”

Men, typically taller than women, view a woman’s face from above; and women view men’s faces from below. [...]

The research found that female faces are judged to be more feminine and more attractive when tilted forwards (simulating viewing from above), and less feminine when tilted backwards (simulating viewing from below). Conversely, male faces are judged more masculine when tilted backwards and less masculine when tilted forwards. (via.)

Geometry skillz for enhanced sexual attractiveness, baby. If that isn’t weird I’m not really sure what is.


Morphine & brain testosterone levels


A single injection of morphine to fight persistent pain in male rats is able to strongly reduce the hormone testosterone in the brain and plasma [...] The study, led by Anna Maria Aloisi, M.D., showed that opioids had “long lasting genomic effects in body areas which contribute to strong central and peripheral testosterone levels” including the brain, the liver and the testis.

The study showed increases in aromatase, an enzyme that is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogen. The findings are particularly important since testosterone is the main substrate of aromatase, which is involved in the formation of estradiol. [...]

Opioid induced hypogonadism can cause health complications to which patients with pain can be overly susceptible, including chronic fatigue, loss of stamina, emotional and sexual disturbances, as well painful skeletal and muscular complications. [...]

“Until a few years ago this condition was completely unrecognized by physicians although some reports clearly showed it in many kinds of patients,” notes Dr. Aloisi. (via.)

This is interesting, because it’s also been demonstrated that chronically anxious rat phenotypes have fewer steroid receptors (testosterone being a steroid, of course) in their brains. Additionally, exercise was one of the only things capable of reversing this phenotype. Exercise causes a rush of endorphins after training, which activate the same receptors (mu opioid) as morphine.


Stria Terminalis & Vasopressin


The stria terminalis is critical for the creation of vasopressin, and interestingly enough differs by gender. Men apparently have a larger one, producing more vasopressin (generally speaking). I ran across a reference to the stria terminalis in Susan Kuchinskas’ book The Chemistry of Connection, and decided I’d take a look around for some more info.

I ran across this interesting tidbit on Wikipedia:

The stria terminalis also appears to be indicated in gender identification. Male-to-female transsexuals have been found to have female-normative cell proliferation in the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc), whereas a female-to-male transsexual was found to have male-normative BSTc cell proliferation.[1][2] It is thought this is mediated by diminished and excessive androgen levels respectively in utero and neonatally.

One other thing I ran across that was interesting:

  • Loss or inhibition of a protein known as ASIC1a (acid sensing ion channel) common to the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis leads to fearless behavior in mice. (via.)