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Sleeping Beauty syndrome teenager snoozes up to 44 DAYS at a time and attacks her own family during trances



By Claire Bates

A school girl suffers from a rare sleeping disorder, which means she snoozes for up to 44 days at a time.

Although it's known as sleeping beauty syndrome, Louis Woods' life is no fairytale as she is also affected by 'zombie-like' trances when she attack herself and her family.

When the teenager is suffering an episode she bashes her head against walls, attacks her young brother and gorges on junk food in nighttime fridge raids.

She also suffers Jekyll and Hyde-like personality changes turning her into everything from a babbling toddler to appearing like a violent drunk.

Despite appearing awake Lois is left with no memory of her bizarre behaviour.

Her GP believes the A* student, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, suffers from Kleine-Levin Syndrome - a rare and complex neurological disorder which affects just 65 people in the UK.

Her mother, Setta Woods, said: 'People call KLS sleeping beauty syndrome, but it's been no fairytale.

'We call her Little Lois when she's in episode, she is unpleasant and it's like she has severe behavioural problems.

'She goes from being like a zombie and ignoring me or huffing and puffing, to like a two-year-old, bouncing off the walls.

'Lois is now afraid to go to sleep in case she doesn't wake up again. It's been soul destroying to watch because she once had everything going for her.'

The disorder struck at 14 when Lois came home from school one day and passed out face-down on the sofa.

Mrs Woods found her son Luke, eight, jumping on Lois and laughing. They managed to rouse her briefly but she then fell back into a deep sleep.

Lois said: 'I remember walking into the living room and I was watching TV. The next thing I knew I was awake and the programme I was watching had finished hours ago. It felt like I'd only been asleep for half an hour.'

The teenager entered a comatose state for almost two months, quickly falling back to sleep after she was woken to eat and drink.

Lois, who was an A* pupil and had always dreamed of playing basketball professionally, saw both her studies and sport suffer as she started to regularly nod off during the day.

Even more alarmingly, her behaviour began to change.

Mrs Woods' said: 'I got to school to pick Lois up one day and they brought her out in a wheelchair. She had her hands over her eyes like a mask and was shouting "I'm Batman, I'm Batman!" When she eventually woke up, she couldn't even remember being at school.'

Lois was taken to hospital after she fell asleep unexpectedly while on the stairs. Even doctors couldn't wake her and were baffled by her behaviour.

Doctors thought she might be epileptic but after running tests, could find nothing medically wrong with Lois so sent her home.

After seeing a paediatric consultant who was also stumped by Lois' unusual sleeping patterns and personality changes, Lois and her mother researched KLS.

In order to be officially diagnosed with KLS, doctors must exclude all other possibilities.

Lois said: 'Most doctors haven't even heard of KLS. To an outsider, it could look like I'm skiving or insane.

'They thought I could be narcoleptic, schizophrenic or be suffering from chronic fatigue. But I had seen a documentary about KLS and both me and my mum knew that's what it was.'

KLS usually strikes in adolescence and the main symptoms are long and disturbed sleep, altered behaviour and excessive appetite.

The cause of KLS is unknown but it can often be triggered by an infection or head injury.

Lois now needs full-time care as when she is in episode, she can be a danger to herself and others.

She said: 'I've woken up before and my hands have been covered in blood and my knuckles have been all bruised.

'When I looked in the mirror I had this big bruise on my forehead! My mum said I'd been punching a wall over and over again and smashing my head against a cupboard.

'The weirdest thing I've ever done in episode is get my ears pierced and dye my hair red. When I woke up and mum told me that, I thought she was joking.

'I do things in my sleep that I would never do if I was awake. I get so aggressive and will hurt my little brother. I woke up once and he had a bruise the size of an orange. I hate myself for it.'

Lois' KLS has meant she has missed most of her vital GCSE lessons at school and has gone from expecting 12 GCSEs to just four.

She said: 'I sat my history GCSE when I was in episode, but I managed to get a C! I remember walking into the room and sitting at my desk, but that's it!

'I am really annoyed because I was an A* student and now I feel like I'm being constantly watched.

'I was supposed to have a basketball scholarship to a college that would have put me in an Ivy League school.

'It's so hard to see my friends from basketball who are now going to be in the Olympics. I see them and I just wish I could still do that. But I can't.'

dailymail

By: manager Date Added: 2013-02-28 Comment: 0 Views :2218

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