Pakistani brothers Shoaib Ahmed and Abdul Rasheed are suffering from a mysterious condition that has left doctors in Islamabad scratching their heads. The so-called ‘Solar Kids’, aged 13 and nine, are normal and active throughout the day, but as soon as the sun goes down they descend into a vegetative state that renders them unable to move or talk.
Shoaib and Abdul wake up with the first rays of the sun, filled with energy and life. They tend to their house chores, attend school, but they are on a clock to get everything done by late afternoon, because as the sun travels west, their energy levels drop and by the time it sets, they are completely paralyzed until the next day. Their parents say that the boys appeared to be dependent on the sun this since the day they were born, and in their home village they are known as the “solar kids”.
“I think my sons get energy from sun,” the boys’ father, Mohammad Hashim, says. But his simplistic theory has been dismissed by doctors after they tried keeping the boys in a completely darkened room during the day, but noticed no bizarre symptoms. The idea that the sun plays a role in the siblings’ mysterious condition is also contradicted by the fact that they remain active when it’s cloudy and even during rainstorms.
The boys, who come from an impoverished family in a village in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, are currently undergoing extensive medical treatment in the nation’s capital, Islamabad. The government is providing them with free medical care, and their blood samples are being analyzed for clues regarding their condition. Samples have also been sent to overseas specialists in the hopes of finding some clues that Pakistani doctors missed.
Javed Akram, a professor of medicine at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) who is currently trying to help the two kids, is struggling to find an explanation for their bizarre symptoms. “We took this case as a challenge,” he said, speaking to AP. “Our doctors are doing medical tests to determine why these kids remain active in the day but cannot open their eyes, why they cannot talk or eat when the sun goes down.”