"Sasha, meanwhile, grew increasingly agitated and refused to eat. Food tasted like sewage, he said. Just five days after his strange behavior began, he was in the intensive-care unit, heavily sedated and being fed through a tube. No one knew for sure what was wrong with him.
"From that point, his parents say, Sasha could have continued on a downward trajectory - toward institutionalization or even death. But one of Helen’s colleagues, a neurologist named Mohamad Mikati, had listened to their story and conducted a few low-tech tests. Could Sasha touch his nose? Not very easily. Could he draw a clock? Yes, but without the hands.
"Mikati had seen a case like Sasha’s years earlier, in an 11-year-old boy who suffered for three months and then spontaneously recovered. The cause, Mikati thought, had been encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. Suspecting that Sasha might have something similar, Mikati ordered an electroencephalogram, a test that monitors electrical activity in the brain."