There are about 400 people in the world suffering from this disease
The baby boy was born on August 7th 2003 in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The boy started suffocating soon after his birth. Doctors diagnosed the lung pathology and connected the baby to the breathing apparatus. It turned out an hour later the boy could not breathe without the machine. Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome was finally diagnosed. This disease is also known as ‘Undine’s curse.’ Doctors concluded that the boy would not be able to live without the breathing apparatus.
In ancient times it was believed that babies occasionally died of suffocation, because their souls had been taken by mermaids. ‘The mer-boy’ Mark, who was diagnosed with the syndrome, had to stay in a Novosibirsk hospital much longer than usual. Doctors were taking care of the boy 24 hours a day. The boy was then taken to the reanimation department of the Novosibirsk municipal neurological center for children.
“Scientists from all over the world have been trying to unravel this mystery. The breathing apparatus is, unfortunately, the only salvation for such people,” doctor Gennady Akopov said. Little boy Mark is only nine months old – he lives with a breathing pipe between his collar bones.
Doctors are trying to find out the reason of the boy’s sickness. According to one of the versions, Mark fell ill due to hereditary mutation of genes. “It turned out the boy’s father had two brothers, who died at a very young age. It is not ruled out the two boys suffered from the ‘mermaid syndrome’ too, and Mark inherited the ailment,” doctor Akopov believes.
Specialists are not willing to dwell upon the boy’s fate. The baby-boy eats, he grows, but it is the machine that makes him breathe. Specialists from the Novosibirsk neurological center agreed with French and English geneticists to conduct joint research works on the matter. DNA samples of the boy and his father have already been sent to foreign colleagues.
There is an ancient legend about knight Gulbrandt, who married Undine, the mermaid. The mermaid fell deeply in love with the knight, but he proved to be unfaithful and killed the beautiful mermaid to marry another woman. The ghost of Undine appeared in the knight’s bedroom before his wedding – the mermaid took away his breath.
The scientific description of the syndrome was made in 1962. The congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is an extremely rare disease, which can be found only among males. There are about 400 people in the world suffering from this disease.
Express Gazeta photo: Doctor Gennady Akopov and little boy Mark