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Insomia is having a difficulty with falling or staying asleep. It is more common in women [1]. Insomnia can occur if a patient is worried or stressed, it can lead to daytime tiredness which can cause poor performances at work. A self help measure for trying to avoid Insomnia is to not take naps during the day [2][3].

Fatal Familial Insomnia

Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) is an extremely rare and devastating condition. As suggested by it's name, FFI is a hereditary disease caused by a mutation in the protein prion gene [4] and although the onset of the disease is generally around middle age; once symptoms appear death usually occurs within one year.

Symptoms include [5]:

Genetic cause [6]

Fatal Familial Insomnia is caused by a change in an amino acid residue at position 178. This change is from a negatively charged aspartic acid to an asparagine residue. In short hand this is written as D178N. However the only change in the amino acid residue structure is a substitution of an oxygen atom for a nitrogen atom.


  1. NHS - (Last reviewed: 11/09/2009)
  6. Prusiner S.B.(1994):180 Prion diseases: of humans and animals, London: Royal College of Physicians of London

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