“This disorder needs to be differentiated from cyclic re-occurrence of sleepiness during the premenstrual period in teenage girls that may be controlled with birth control pills.” – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Key words: Clematis, Hypothalamus, Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS).
Our planet is plagued not only by diseases but perplexing diseases. While some have an obvious etiology, others have none at all. Homeopaths are interested in etiology, but it is not necessary to have one to cure or palliate the most mysterious diseases and syndromes. In this article, we examine an extremely rare neurological disorder that is currently capturing the imagination of physicians, geneticists, and even politicians: Kleine-Levin syndrome.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome is named after Willi Kleine and Max Levin.
-Kleine-Levin Hibernation Syndrome – Familial Hibernation Syndrome
-Periodic Somnolence and Morbid Hunger
A summary of Kleine-Levin Syndrome:
KLS in short, is a very rare sleep disorder. The other main symptoms are associated with appetite and sex. Males experience KLS four times more frequently than females. This syndrome is cyclical. Narcoleptic episodes may persist for days, weeks, or months. Periods of remission may also vary from weeks, months, or even years! Some patients “grow out” of this syndrome. That is to say that some patients experience “spontaneous remission” permanently with advance in age. Others do not. KLS may even recur later in life. It is a true medical enigma. Similarities between Kleine-Levin syndrome and Kluver-Bucy syndrome (also characterized by hyperphagia, hypersexuality, and dulled motions) deserves homeopathic study as well.
Numerous causes are suspect, but not absolutely verified. Medical researchers speculate that KLS is an autoimmune disease, due to genetic predisposition, or related to the hypothalamus. This gland controls: emotional expression, motivation, appetite, sleep, temperature, hormonal secretions, metabolism, sexual desire, and reaction to stress.
Allopathic symptomology of Kleine-Levin Syndrome:
- Fear of dying in ones sleep
- Post narcoleptic amnesia
- Post narcoleptic depression
- Hypersensitivity to light
- Hypersensitivity to noise
- Compulsive hyperphagia
- Uninhibited sex drive
- Hypersomnia (sleeps as much as 20 hours a day)!
- Lack of physical energy.
Allopathic drug treatment:
Drugs used in KLS include: Carbamazepine, Imipramine, Lithium, Methylphenidate, Modafinil, and Ritalin.
The hypothalamus connection:
After reading that the hypothalamus was suspect, I immediately looked up the homeopathic sarcode hypothalamus in Dr. Julian’s book “Materia Medica of New Homoeopathic Remedies.” What I found was truly astounding. The late Dr. Julian’s anatomical and physiological description of the Ox sarcode hypothalamus is extremely sophisticated. It is half a page long. After describing phrases such “supra optic and paraventricular nuclei”, “neuro-secretory cells”, “osmodically active particles”, “capillary loops”, and “transporting protein”; Dr. Julian stated that the Ox hypothalamus secretes the hormones vasopressin, and oxytocin. The relevance? The human hypothalamus also secretes the hormones vasopressin, and oxytocin!
Therefore, it is not a complete surprise that the Ox sarcode has a very powerful influence upon the human economy. Dr. Julian also stated that the use of this sarcode was “clinical” in nature. He bluntly says, “There is no Hahnemannian proving.” So what was he and other homeopaths using it for? KLS, perhaps? It is very possible. Willi Kleine wrote an article published on this syndrome in 1925. Max Levin’s article “Periodic somnolence and morbid hunger. A new syndrome.” appeared in 1936. So in other words, Kleine-Levin syndrome had already existed in medical literature a quarter century before homeopaths started using the hypothalamus sarcode. That is pure speculation on my part. Nevertheless, the similarities between the hallmark symptoms of KLS and the hypothalamus sarcode are astounding.
Dates and authors of articles published on the hypothalamus sarcode(Julian)
1956 H. Vannier
1958 H. Vannier., Stem-Veyrin. 1959 H. Vannier., Stern-Veyrin. 1964 S eror.
1969 H. Vannier.
Hallmark symptoms of KLS and the hypothalamus sarcode
KLS: “Morbid hunger”(hyperphagia).
Dr. Julian: “Morbid hunger pangs…”
KLS: “Terrified of going to bed. Fear of dying in ones sleep”.
Dr. Julian: “Fear of falling asleep lest he should not wake again.”
Dr. Julian: “…irresistible attraction.”
I became interested in KLS when a fellow student mentioned that a loved one suffered from it. I offered to research it which is the only reason you are reading this paper today. Due to circumstances, a constitutional approach was out of the question. The hypothalamus sarcode was not obtainable. We “put our heads together.” So what other medical system was safe, tried and true, and easy to obtain? The Bach flowers!
The Bach flower Clematis P:
Grand old Dr. Bach, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.P.H. He was sage enough to warn us not to let the simplicity of his remedies to deter us from their use. Complicated problems do not always need complicated solutions. Clematis is a true monument to his wisdom and intuition. Drugs have “personalities” that mirror those who need them. So what is the Clematis personality like?
Disease comes in degrees, namely: acute, sub-acute, chronic, and degenerative. Clematis is unique in that there are degrees of severity. Clematis can be passive, indifferent, lazy, dreamy, or frankly unconsciousness! Did you ever hear a baseball announcer describing a hit that turns into a homerun namely “Going, going, gone?” That is a perfect metaphor for a KLS patient. As hopeless as KLS seems to be, Clematis given even casually has held off a full-blown narcoleptic attack for nearly two months!
The Bach flower Gorse:
The keynotes of Gorse are hopelessness and despair. Allopathic medicine utilizes the law of opposites such as the CNS stimulant Ritalin and amphetamines in KLS. These of course do not cure. Those who have tried treatments that failed; or that suffer from genetic ailments “condemning them to a lifetime of suffering” need Gorse. So do those who cannot endure “one more treatment” (a good tip for homeopaths treating a new patient exasperated by Allopathic medicine).
The Bach flower Impatiens
The keynotes of Impatiens are irritability, and impatience. KLS patients can become very agitated. Those caring for a KLS patient may also benefit from Impatiens. This is a good “caregiver” remedy. This is also good for new patients of homeopaths who expect quick results in chronic or complex conditions!
A Kleine-Levin Syndrome diet?
Modern medicine has yet to discover dietary “types.” This is where Ayurvedic medicine shines. The major doshas are Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water). KLS is a disease of extreme imbalances (excessive food intake, excessive sleep, excessive sex). Surely one of the doshas would reflect some of these qualities. What are some of the “keynotes” of the Ayurvedic type Kapha? Drowsiness, sluggishness, and heavy sleep! Of course the dietary suggestions listed below should be tailored to circumstances (budget, availability), and special needs (allergies, vegetarianism, etc).
Foods and drinks to increase in a Kapha constitution:
General: Astringent, bitter, dry, light, pungent, warm
Animal products: Chicken, turkey, eggs
Fruits: figs (dried), raisins, apricots, etc
Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collards, corn, green beans, peas, potatoes(white)and spinach, to name a few.
Flours: Barley, buckwheat
Drinks: Black coffee, herbal teas (especially ginger)
Juices (unsweetened): Apple, cranberry
Oils: Canola, corn, ghee
Foods to decrease in a Kapha constitution:
General: Cold, fried, greasy, oily, rich, heavy, salty, sweets. Animal products: Dairy, meat (red)
Condiments: Table salt, soy sauce
Fruits: Citrus, bananas
Some of these dietary suggestions seem irrelevant. Others are rather obvious. Should a lethargic person who has narcoleptic attacks be eating cold, rich, heavy food? How many of you get sleepy after a heavy meal? Conversely, don’t people drink coffee to WAKE UP? Drink a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice in the morning when you are half asleep. The pungency has a similar effect. Oh the wisdom of the ancients!
Good “Kapha type restaurants” to visit when eating out:
A Homeopathic summary:
“Signs and symptoms” are what homeopaths long to see in syndromes such as KLS. We are not intimidated by the lack of etiology or the hopelessness of other treatments. Two hundred plus years of compiling materia medicas and subsequent repertories have nearly always yielded promising remedies. So what remedies may be of use in KLS besides hypothalamus sarcode and the Bach flowers Clematis, Gorse, and Impatiens?
Rubrics in Kent’s repertory related to KLS:
Mind (fear to close the eyes lest he should never wake)
Mind (forgetful on waking)
Mind (depression on waking)
Hearing (acute to noises)
Sexual passion excessive/violent/ (male)
Remedies in Kent’s repertory related to the symptomology of KLS:
Note: These remedies were repertorized by hand by the author and not with a computer.
KLS is a serious, yet fascinating neurological syndrome. There is no agreed etiology. The author has found the Bach flower Clematis to be very useful. The hypothalamus sarcode mirrors the hallmark symptoms of KLS and deserves confirmation of action as well as potency. The Ayurvedic Kapha diet is directly relevant and should be encouraged as part of a multi-treatment approach. Once again, our remedies “rise to the occasion” as it were in their similitude. Although further homeopathic work needs to be done in Kleine-Levin Syndrome (namely confirmation of our remedies), I hope to have laid a
foundation others can build on.
Chancellor, P. M. Handbook of The Bach Flower Remedies. Keats Publishing Inc. New Canaan, Connecticut. 1971. Pgs 76, 77, 97, 98, 99, 121
Dorlands Pocket Medical Dictionary. 26th Ed. W. B. Saunders Company. Philadelphia. 2001. Pgs 621, 884.
Julian, O. A. Materia Medica of New Homoeopathic Remedies. Beaconsfields Publishers Ltd. U. K. Reprint 1990. Pgs 289, 290, 293.
Kent, J. T. Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Reprint. World Homeopathic Links. New Delhi. 1982. Pgs 13, 20, 37, 47, 49, 54, 57, 58, 68, 69, 77, 261, 262, 321, 478, 711, 1234, 1370, 1413, 1414.
Kleine, W. Periodische Schlafsucht. Monatsschrift fur Psychiatric and Neurologie. 1925, 57: 285-320.
KLS Foundation. Major Kleine-Levin Syndrome genetic research funding awarded to Stanford University. Pg 1.
Levin, M. Periodic somnolence and morbid hunger: A new syndrome. Brain, Oxford. 1936, 59: 494-504.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NINDS Kleine-Levin Syndrome Information Page. 2007. Pg 1.
Sanford, M. Governor’s Proclamation of Kleine-Levin Awareness Day. 2008. Pg 1.
Smith, E. K. The Quick & Easy Ayurvedic Cookbook. Tuttle publishing. Vermont. 2000. Pgs. 111, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118.
Smith, R. E. Psychology. West Publishing Company. St. Paul, MN. 1993. Pgs 73, 74.
Stanford School of Medicine. Center for Narcolepsy. Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Pg 1. med.stanford.edu/school/Psychiatry/narcolepsy/KLS.html
WebMD. Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Pg 1. www.webmd.com/mental-health/kleine-levin-syndrome
Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia. Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Pgs 1, 2. en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleine-Levinsyndrome
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