10 Baffling Medical Conditions

"There is a 50-50 chance that the sleep will improve," Lamb said. "Once the sleep improves, we can work on the behavioral stuff. He's very irritable all of the time."

"I would love to see him play and have a good time and be happy," she said.

For others with similar sleep-deprivation conditions, a lack of sleep can have serious detrimental health effects. Several studies since 2001 have linked a lack of sleep to heart disease and various mental disorders.

When You Can't Forget

For most of us, it is difficult to imagine a life in which nothing is forgotten.

But for a few people, every moment they live is indelibly etched into memory.

Wisconsin resident Brad Williams is one of these people. His extensive memory allows him to recall almost any news event and anything he has experienced, including specific dates and even the weather.

"I was sort of a human Google for my family," the 52-year-old told "Good Morning America" in his first television interview earlier this year. "I've always been able to recall things."

Another case is a woman who is simply known as "AJ" who revealed her condition to University of California at Irvine brain researcher James McGaugh, one of the world's leading experts on how the human memory system works.

Like Williams, AJ can answer obscure questions with mind-blowing accuracy -- such as the weather on a particular day several years in the past, or the details of a decades-old news item.

The condition is known among brain researchers as hyperthymesic syndrome, based on the Greek word thymesis for "remembering" and hyper, meaning "more than normal."

McGaugh told ABC News' Lee Dye that while the brains of these people are able to perform amazing feats of recall, it is still not fully understood exactly how this occurs. One hypothesis is that the "wiring" of the brains of those with hyperthymesia is set up in such a way that their brains are better able to organize and categorize information for later access.

Past this, however, researchers are stumped.

"In order to explain a phenomenon you have to first understand the phenomenon," McGaugh said. "We're at the beginning."

When Your Memory Disappears in a Flash

Memory can likewise be exceedingly fragile. Perhaps no one is more familiar with this fact than 57-year-old Beki Propst, who 10 years ago experienced a grand mal seizure that robbed her of a lifetime of memories.

"Everyone I knew before says my personality is the same," Propst told ABCNews.com. "But I don't know if I'm the same person."

Details of Propst's case continue to baffle doctors. What they do know is that a devastating "electrical storm" in her brain caused her declarative memory to be wiped clean. Facts, events, dates, acquaintances and even her identity were wiped away. As Propst describes it, "If I was a computer, it would be like my hard drive was erased."

David Ewing of Centennial Neurology in Greeley, Colo., Propst's doctor, said that it is remarkable that Propst has adjusted so well to her new life, which, in a way, began slightly more than 10 years ago. The seizure, he says, effectively disconnected the area of her brain in which her memories were stored.

"The area is still there, still intact," he said. "But it was like someone threw a breaker switch. ... She had a single general event, after which she woke up and all of her memories were wiped out."

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