Ten Unusual And Bizarre Diseases (And How To Avoid Them)

abumuradStarred Page By abumurad, 29th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3pkti0hz/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Drugs & Medicines

This article isn't meant to mock anyone who has any disease. It is written by way of wonder for what the remarkable human body is capable of. There is something amazing -- and terrifying -- in knowing that we each are a member of the species among whom the following weird and perplexing anomalies can occur.

Blue Skin Disorder

Not including whatever is afflicting The Smurfs and The Blue Man Group, there are two types of diseases that cause a person's skin to take on the hue of blueberries:

The first type is the result of excessive inbreeding combined with an enzyme deficiency. This disorder was best characterized by the extended Fugate family who lived in Kentucky in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The entire family had blue skin and gave birth to blue-skinned babies. The Fugates eventually got access to better transportation (and, possibly, a good online dating site) and found non-blue skinned partners that allowed them to mostly bred away their skin abnormality. Today the family has no more blue genes. (Sorry, sorry, couldn't resist the pun). For more on the Fugate's fascinating story:

The second type of blue skin disorder, argyria, is the result of silver poising. Usually this poising happens from drinking contaminated water for a prolonged periods of time. But watch the video below to see the story of a blue skinned man who purposely took silver believing it was medically beneficial:

Pica

Feel like having a plate of dirt and wood chips for dinner, with a side of car parts and a bowl of lint? You may be suffering from pica, a disease that causes the afflicted to crave food that isn't. A very mild version of pica is not uncommon in toddlers, which may explain why some young ones are constantly trying to eat glue and crayons. In adults the disease is very rare but also much more extreme.

Human Werewolf Syndrome

An urge to howl at a full moon is not one of the effects of hypertrichosis lanuginosa, but looking like you'd want to is. A person with this disease grows hair virtually everywhere on their body except for the bottom of the feet and the palm of the hands. The hair associated with this syndrome is actually not like the hair you have (or had) atop your head but rather lanugo hair, which is the sort of hair that appears subtly on all newborn infants. Typically lanugo hair falls out a few weeks after birth. Sufferers of Human Werewolf Syndrome keep their languor hair and can grow it to a length of nearly a foot (30 centimeters). There have only been around 50 documented cases worldwide. Most the the afflicted inherited the disease but a few of the occurrences remain unexplainable. (Cue X-Files theme music here)
Read about a boy with this condition

Shrinking Penis Syndrome

Don't tell some one with this disorder that size doesn't matter. Also known Koro syndrome, this disease causes a man to fear that his genitals are literally retracting up into his body. The fear can be intense enough to cause death! There is no physical cause of this syndrome. Instead, it comes from the manifestation of a neurosis within a local culture (usually in Asia or Africa). In this way it is similar to the laughing sickness that can afflict an entire village and cause all its inhabitants to laugh uncontrollably. As far as we know shrinking penis syndrome and laughing sickness have never simultaneously appeared within the same population though that combination strikes us as especially bad
Read this New York Times report about an outbreak of laughing sickness in Africa

Progeria

Here's how fragile your genetic code is: One small change in it can cause you to age at a greatly accelerated rate. That's what happens to people born with progeria. Their body sizes grow normally but several of the other undesirable side effects of aging -- baldness, arthritis, loss of eyesight, heart disease, wrinkly skin -- come quickly. A comical (and totally fictitious and unrealistic) form of this disease was portrayed in the movie Jack. Unfortunately, in real life there's little funny about progeria. Those who are born with the disease do not live beyond their teens.
Check here

Walking Corpse Syndrome

Oof is this bad! People with this condition -- also known as Cotard's disease after the French neurologist who discovered it -- are perfectly healthy except for their certainty that they are dead. The illusion is so real to the afflicted that he (rarely she) will purposely maintain an odor of a rotting corpse. In some cases people with walking corpse syndrome will sense worms eating at their body, feel that their souls has departed them or believe that they no longer exist! The disease is rare and usually caused by a mixture of poor diet, deep psychosis and illicit drug usage. So, please, stay away from the cocaine. Together we can wipe out WCS in our lifetime.
Read more about Dr. Cotard

Vampire Disease

Technically, this isn't one disease but several that are collectively known as porphyria. All of the porphyria disorders involve problems producing important blood agents. Possible symptoms include sensitivity to sunlight, urine and teeth that take on a blood-like color, excessive body hair and mutilated ears, eyelids, foreheads, teeth and/or fingers. Usually those symptoms are nonexistent or extremely mild. In fact, it is very possible that one person who reads this article will have an undiagnosed version of porphyria. But in the disease's extreme form it's obvious why some historians believe that a porphyria sufferer was the inspiration behind Stoker's Dracula. That association, sadly, can cause as many problems for people with porphyria as the disorder itself
More about porphyria

Face Blindness

Who knew there was a special area of your brain devoted solely to recognizing people by how their faces look? No one. At least not until scientists researched the causes of prosopagnosia, a condition that prevents a person from identifying some one by face. The sufferer can still distinguish between all manner of objects -- among chairs that are each slightly different, for example -- and can recognize people by their hair, clothes or glasses. But not by their face. To experience a sense of what it is like to live with this disease look at the upside down faces of the famous people to the right. You might still be able to recognize them but only after some of the confusion and frustration a prosopagnosia sufferer feels with upright faces. (See the small text at the bottom of this page for the identity of our mystery face subjects).

A horrendous condition that effects the same part of the brain that prosopagnosia does, usually by way of some sort of brain legion, is capgras syndrome. A person with capgras believes that a loved one has been replaced by an identical looking impostor. They might even believe that they themselves have been replaced by an impostor when they look in a mirror (which is all very Being John Malkovich). Curiously -- and cruelly -- the capgras sufferer will only believe that an impostor has occupied the body of a close friend or family member. The condition will never reveal itself in a relationship with a casual acquaintance.

Read more about face blindness
The Official Capgras Syndrome Portal

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Does your pet dog suddenly look like the size of a mouse? Does it seem like the piece of cake you left on the counter is now half the size of the kitchen? Those illusions are the result of micropsia and macropsia, respectively, which collectively make up Alice In Wonderland Syndrome. The size-distorting visual effects associated with the syndrome are usually temporary, caused by a swelling of the corneal areas of the eye, some types of epilepsy or migraine headaches, and/or the use of hallucinogenic opiate-based drugs. Those with this syndrome often turn to creative outlets to help them cope. It is thought that Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll was suffered from this disease (hence its name). It is also very possible that Jonathan Swift had this syndrome when he wrote Gulliver's Travels.

Read a first-hand account of some one with AIWS

Moebius Syndrome

What poker players work to perfect people with moebius syndrome suffer from. Those with this neurological disorder are unable to show any facial expressions. The girl pictured to the right, a moebius sufferer, maintains that same neutral look no matter what she is feeling. The condition is actually a type of facial paralysis that can cause those with it to sleep with their eyes open and can prevent their eyeballs from moving at all in the most extreme cases.
The Moebius Syndrome Foundation

Avoid weird diseases

So what can you do to avoid contracting any of these (and other) weird diseases?

If you are reading this it is too late for the best piece of advice: Be born with good genes.

Besides that, some other tips:

Drink—and cook with—clean water. Several diseases, like the blue skin causing argyria detailed above, are contracted through water.
Your pets can be a source of disease, especially birds and more exotic pets. Keep their vaccinations up-to-date.
A varied and healthy diet helps ward off illness.
Most of all: Enjoy the life you have, with whatever condition your body is in. A body that is enjoying itself has an urge to keep living.

Tags

Advice, Diet, Fitness, Hair, Health, Nutrition

Meet the author

author avatar abumurad
I am freelance writer specializing in financial topics and political commentary, gardening and ecology, psychology, and paranormal and New Age topics. My non-writing professional experience includes s

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author avatar writestuff
23rd Jan 2014 (#)

Most interesting and informative particle. Thanks for this post.

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