Scientists reveal how a hyperactivated immune system can unleash disease
Bobby Hunter was 10 years old when his mother noticed her usually energetic boy was struggling to stay awake and he looked exhausted all the time. Then he began collapsing. Eventually Bobby was diagnosed with narcolepsy, a lifelong incurable condition where victims suddenly drop into deep dream sleep, sometimes a dozen times a day or more. It can be accompanied by bizarre and terrifying symptoms: waking hallucinations of demons, insomnia, sleep paralysis and a sudden loss of muscle control or cataplexy often triggered by strong emotions. Bobby now has to be accompanied everywhere he goes in case he falls unconscious; he’ll never bathe or drive or cross a street alone. But his case is particularly cruel. Now, he is a child who is afraid to smile or laugh because it might trigger an attack.
Bobby’s mother Amanda is adamant he first became ill after he received the nasal flu vaccine at his school. But could such a small thing cause such a devastating disorder?