Unraveling the Mystery of ‘Deadly Dreams’ Syndrome

February 1, 2019

(Undark) – The syndrome, it turns out, had bedeviled Southeast Asians for generations. In the Philippines, it was called bangungot, the Tagalog word for nightmare. In Thailand, it was called lai-tai; in Japan, pokkuri. Whatever the name, the syndrome was the same: sudden death of apparently healthy young men, often at night. Halfway around the world, similar inexplicable symptoms were encountered in 1986 by Pedro Brugada, a cardiac electrophysiologist in the Netherlands, when a Polish engineer named Andrea Wockeczek barged into his office carrying his 3-year-old son. The boy, Lech, had been experiencing frequent fainting attacks. On several occasions, Wockeczek had performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing to resuscitate him.

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