Wednesday, November 11, 2009

12-year-old girl sneezes 12,000 times a day

At first glance Lauren Johnson is your typical 12-year-old. She loves animals, especially her dog, Bo, but sit with Lauren for more than two seconds and you quickly learn she's unique.

"I can't stop sneezing. It goes off about eight to nine times a minute," says Lauren sneezing twice in seven seconds. On a regular day the 6th grader can sneeze more than 12,000 times. It all started roughly two weeks ago when Lauren caught a cold.

"It was different and I just kind of went with it thinking that it wouldn't last this long, but it's been two weeks now and it just hasn't stopped," said Lauren sneezing six times in the 17 seconds it took for her to say that.

"I know she's miserable. I know this is terrible for her," said Lauren's mother Lynn.

Lynn Johnson's heart breaks every time she hears her daughter sneeze, because after visiting six different doctors and taking 11 different medications, the diagnosis is the same. "Everybody's baffled," she says.

Update: On Tuesday morning a neurologist told the family Lauren's condition could be "irretractable psychogenic disorder" - triggered by stress. The condition is rare, and treatment options have not always proven successful.

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