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article imageUS man is literally paralyzed by love

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 22, 2010 in Health
Portland - Romantic thoughts leave Portland resident Matt Frerking paralyzed. Even trailers for romantic films might immobilize him.
Frerking has been diagnosed with a combination of narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder, with cataplexy, a sudden weakening of the muscles which leaves people temporarily paralyzed but still aware of their surroundings.
Thinking loving thoughts or hearing his wife, Trish, say loving things, can result in the Oregon man struggling to keep his eyes open and his head becoming heavy. If he is not able to stop the attack he will become unable to move while fully awake.
“The brain is behaving as if it’s asleep when Matt is awake,” Carol Ash, a sleep specialist at the Sleep for Life Center in New Jersey, told ABC News.
Frerking, who is 39, was struck with the disorder four years ago.
Now, most family pictures have to be kept out of sight and he can only hold hands with his wife for short periods of time.
“Putting my arm around her is something that I don’t do unless we’re sitting down and I know that it won’t matter that much if I just flop over,” The Telegraph reported him as saying. “I have to limit those things very carefully.”
He said he find anniversaries very difficult.
His wife got a dog because she considers herself to be a “touchy person” and can be affectionate with the animal.
He admitted that the dog is adorable, but he is unable to give her much attention.
Work is one area where Frerking is fine. He is a neuroscientist and during the ABC News interview he said: “My work is a very emotionally neutral kind of intellectually driven activity.” He sometimes thinks about scientific research when he feels an attack being triggered.
A video of Frerking can be seen on You Tube.
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