On Thursday a sleep expert testified that Michael Jackson may be the only human ever to go two months without Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, Alan Duke of CNN reports.
REM sleep is vital to keep the brain and body alive. For 60 nights Dr. Conrad Murray gave Jackson infusions of Propofol, an anesthetic used during surgery, to treat the superstar’s insomnia before the 50-year-old died of an overdose on June 25, 2009.
Propofol disrupts the normal sleep cycle and offers no REM sleep, yet it leaves a patient feeling refreshed as if they had experienced genuine sleep, according to Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School sleep expert testifying at the wrongful death trial of concert promoter AEG Live.
“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner,” Czeisler said. “Your stomach would be full and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfil any of your nutrition needs.”
The sleep consultant to NASA, the CIA and the Rolling Stones added that the lack of REM sleep may have soon killed The King of Pop anyway, noting that lab rats die after five weeks of getting no REM sleep.
Czeisler told the court that people who are deprived of REM sleep for long periods become paranoid, anxiety-filled, depressed, unable to learn, distracted, sloppy.
He added that they lose their balance and appetite, their physical reflexes get 10 times slower, and their emotional responses 10 times stronger.
Duke notes that those symptoms are very similar to “descriptions of Jackson in his last weeks as described in e-mails from show producers and testimony by witnesses in the trial.”
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