Early Research on Brain Mechanisms of Sleep and Waking



During the final years of World War I and for a short time thereafter (1917–1919), a worldwide influenza epidemic was caused by one of the most deadly viruses ever known. The disease had a number of names, the best known being the Spanish flu. It has been estimated that between 25 and 40 million fatalities were due to the influenza epidemic—many more than the 9 million killed by the war. A variant of the disease was encephalitis lethargica, in which victims entered a coma that usually ended in death. Some of those who survived entered a rigid Parkinson-like state that was dramatically described by the neurologist Oliver Sacks, in his book Awakenings (1973), and strikingly portrayed in a Hollywood film of the same name.


Brain Stem Brain Mechanism Anterior Hypothalamus Encephalitis Lethargica Mesencephalic Reticular Formation 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2002

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