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Notorious Crimes / Mysteries of Sleep Disorders

Date Tuesday - September 3, 2019
Host George Noory
Guests Dawna KaufmannGuy Leschziner

In the first half, author Dawna Kaufmann, who writes true crime books with medical examiner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, updated her work on some of the most high-profile crimes and criminals of the past few decades. One such case she investigated took place in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Memorial Medical Center was established as a sanctuary for 2,000 people during the flooding, but then the power went out. Rooftop evacuations ensued but they could only get 25 people out a day. It was then that a cancer doctor and two nurses "involuntarily euthanized" 34 viable patients with the drugs Versed and morphine, Kaufmann recounted, and the healthcare company and the doctor thought that no one would find out what happened in the aftermath. The attorney general put together a team including Dr. Wecht, who figured out what happened, and though the doctor and nurses were arrested, they were ultimately not imprisoned, Kaufmann lamented.

She cited various murder victims and the ages they would be if they had lived such as Jon Benet Ramsey (29), who had been interested in being a veterinarian or playing the violin, Conner Peterson (17), the unborn child of Scott and Laci Peterson, and Caylee Anthony (14), the neglected daughter of Casey Anthony. Kaufmann also talked about her examination of the Stephen Paddock mass shooting in Las Vegas. Most reports don't mention that he was shooting at McCarran Airport's large gas tanks for government airplanes, she noted, and he may have been disgruntled over losing money on business ventures.

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Dr. Guy Leschziner is a consultant neurologist and sleep physician, and clinical lead for one of the largest sleep services in Europe. In the latter half, he discussed common sleep afflictions, including insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apnea, and bizarre cases of sleepwalking. Those with the condition of narcolepsy fall asleep quickly during the day, may have trouble staying asleep at night, and have dream hallucinations intrude into their waking state, he detailed. It's thought that there's an issue in the brain switching between states, he explained. In sleepwalking cases-- one of his patients rides her motorbike in her sleep, while others eat or cook in their sleep---"what we see is that while certain parts of the brain remain in deep sleep," typically areas in the frontal lobe associated with rational thinking and memory, other parts related to vision and movement can be wide awake.

He spoke about sleep paralysis (SP), in which a person's body is frozen while they may see or be approached by a demonic presence, or feel they are out-of-body. Leschziner shared a theory that the body's perception of itself is distorted by a lack of feedback from its limbs during SP, which may cause the brain to project a body image or a humanoid shape outside itself. He talked about REM Behavior Disorder, where patients are not paralyzed during REM sleep and act out their dreams, potentially hurting themselves and sleeping partners. Leschziner also broached the topic of recurring nightmares. People with PTSD may replay nightmares over and over again, because the emotional processing that may be a function of dreams, is not able to complete its cycle, he suggested.

News segment guests: Capt. Kelly Sweeney, John R. Lott

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Bumper music from Tuesday September 03, 2019

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