Pronounced dead, but still alive

A woman waking up at the morgue, Pronounced dead but still alive

A woman waking up at the morgue, Pronounced dead but still alive

For many, this would be a total nightmare: waking up at the morgue. For some people, this or being pronounced dead although they’re still alive is a frightening reality…

  • June Burchell from Sussex has a medical condition called “Cataplexy”. Because of her cataplexy, she was pronounced dead 3 times and ended up at the morgue 2 of those, although she was still alive.
  • On the occasions June was pronounced dead, her blood pressure was very low and her breathing slower than usual, making it harder to tell if she was alive.
  • Cataplexy is a condition where the person who has it is paralyzed and can’t move and show small or none vital signs for a period of time. The person is still however fully aware and can see and hear everything around them, but they can’t respond to the activities.
The human brain's hypothalamus

The human brain's hypothalamus

  • A person with cataplexy can be in the paralysis for minutes to even days.
  • Cataplexy is found to often be triggered by spontaneous, strong emotions such as fear and laughter.
  • Cataplexy often affects people who have narcolepsy, a disorder where the person fall in and out of sleep when not stimulated.
  • Scientists found in the brains of dogs with cataplexy that they had a missing chemical called Hypocretin which they suspected was the cause of the condition.
  • Scientists then performed research on donated human brains from people with our without narcolepsy and found that the Hypocretin was destroyed in the brains from people with narcolepsy.
  • Hypocretin is normally produced in the brain’s Hypothalamus: the brain’s control center. Hypocretin controls our transition from being asleep to being awake. It also is believed to maintain motor-activity during certain emotions.
  • A cure for cataplexy may be found in 5 years
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