A 17-year-old girl in Colombia drops into bouts of sleep that can last for days, weeks, or even months.
During her extensive slumbers, the girl often loses her memory; after one 48-day episode, she temporarily forgot her own mother’s face, according to news reports.
The girl, Sharik Tovar, is one of the few people with a rare condition called Kleine-Levin syndrome, otherwise known as “Sleeping Beauty” syndrome. Unlike the fictional Sleeping Beauty, people with Kleine-Levin syndrome can be woken up during an episode and may wake up occasionally on their own to eat or use the bathroom, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Scientists estimate that the syndrome manifests in 1 to 5 people out of every million, according to the clinical resource UpToDate. Historically, more than 500 cases of the condition have been reported in the medical literature, although the unusual syndrome likely goes underdiagnosed.