Strange Medical Conditions: Hello, everyone..!! Let us talk about Top 10 extremely strange and rare conditions that are sometimes a puzzle to the whole medical fraternity itself. Most of the conditions that we are about to discuss are extremely rare that some have been observed only in one or two people till date.
Starting from the uncombable syndrome to the Riddoch Phenomenon, let us simplify the things for you and help you understand these conditions better. Consider them hiccups, bugs, disasters or even god’s gifts, whatever they are, they are really rare and are very strange. Strange Medical Conditions
Here are the lists of top 10 People with these extremely strange medical conditions really exist
- Uncombable Hair Syndrome:
Also known by different names such as ‘Pili trianguli et canaliculi, Spun-glass hair, Struwwelpeter syndrome, and Cheveux incoiffables. This is a very rare structural anomaly of the hair. The degree of its effect varies from individual to individual. Across the globe, only around 100 cases have been registered till date.
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One of them is 2-year-old Taylor McGowan. She appeared fairly normal initially after birth but later developed this condition. Her parents noticed that something is wrong with the hair when she was 5 months old but did not bother much about it as the nurse assured them that the hair would become flat in some time. It was Taylor’s grandmother who noticed that something was wrong when she could correlate her granddaughter’s photos to the photos of the children suffering from Uncombable Hair Syndrome.
The hair in this condition is disorderly and stands out from the scalp. Moreover, it cannot be combed flatly though it can be woven by various braiding methods. This condition is caused by the mutation of any of the 3 genes- PADI3, TGM, or TCHH3.
Though not confirmed, it is believed that the great physicist Albert Einstein has also suffered from this Uncombable Hair Syndrome.
- The Religious Tumor:
The name might look funny, but would you believe me if I said that a tumor in the brain can turn an atheist into a religious person. But then, have a look the case.
Though it did not end well for the women, it could have paved way towards answering many questions regarding the human brain. The condition could also explain the sudden mystical experiences in some people.
In 2016, an unnamed woman, who though not very religious had some faith in the god. Her family describes her as a very happy and fun loving woman. But then, over a span of just over two months, there was an abrupt change in her perception about god. She became calm, sad, and quiet in addition she also started writing religious writing. Also, she met with Virgin Mary many a time.
Very unusually, an MRI and biopsy revealed a very rare and aggressive form of brain tumor. Almost immediately, every possible treatment available was tried for the next weeks – radiation, chemotherapy, and antipsychotic medication. The elderly patient’s conversations with the Virgin Mary had ceased.
Even a very deep probe in the case would not find any other significant change in the life of that woman except for brain cancer, which could trigger the hyper-religiosity. Though the exact mechanism that leads to this condition is not known, it is believed that her temporal lobe has played a very significant role. Also, cases in the past with similar implication have also linked to this part of the brain.
- Hyper Empathy:
A woman underwent surgery to get her problems of daily seizures treated. Part of her brain, including the whole of the amygdala was removed. And as a matter of fact, the amygdala is the part of the brain that is responsible for the recognition of motions in others or to be empathetic. So, a rule of thumb should have lost her ability to be empathetic and understand the emotions of others. But then, it went the other way round. Her situation was described as “spectacular emotional arousal” also triggering the physical effects. Even a simple book could get her involved and be empathetic to the characters of the book.
Though the present condition of the woman is known, even in 2013, 13 years after the surgery, she expressed the same empathy and emotional connect that she had way back just after the surgery. In the same year, her case became the first case in the literature of science that detailed the unusual emotional development after a brain-removal surgery. She also bet another woman in determining emotions from photos which showed eyes only. And moreover, her mental health was in the normal range.
All of this is defying science because, in other 22 women, who had parts of amygdala removed, they became less emotional and less empathetic. Also, the probability that all of her amygdala was removed which could have lead to the specialization of the other parts of the brain to manage the empathy is yet to be confirmed.
- Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss:
Early this year, a woman in China came to the doctor with a very notorious complaint. She could not hear the voice of her boyfriend. She complained that her ears rang, and soon afterward, threw up.
The female doctor during examination noticed that the patient, Chen, was able to hear and respond to her, but not able to hear to a man talking nearby. And then, the doctor came to the conclusion that she was not able to hear male voices. As it turned out, Chen is suffering from a very rare disease, reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL) where patients fail to hear low frequencies—like deep male voices. In this particular case, this was caused by work stress and sleep deprivation. Also, this condition is said to be caused by trauma, blood vessel problems, and autoimmune disorders.
Lucky enough, the prognosis was good. She could make a full recovery given enough rest because she had approached in the initial stages and could be treated by high doses of steroids. But approaching the doctor after 2 days would not yield the same result.
- Epidermolysis bullosa (EB)
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), as the disease is scientifically known as, is an excruciating and a very fatal condition. Skins or Blisters to be specific could fall of even the slightest touch. Not long ago in 2015, a team of German doctors invited an Italian stem cell therapist who is a specialist in gene therapy to save a seven-year-old boy who was in a very fatal condition.
It was so serious that almost all of his skin sloughed off in the form and blisters and thus he became was dangerously septic. His previous cases were very marginally successful given the tough situation to treat. The German boy’s condition was way too critical and could be called a true test for gene therapy.
The team of doctors consisting of the Italian and Germans searched for stem cells on his ravaged skin and could finally find some near the groin (Pubic Area). These cells, using a retrovirus that carried healthy copies of the gene responsible for EB were grown into sheets of the skin of full length. And in two lengthy two operations, these sheets were successfully grated throughout his body including back, limbs, and a part of his chest. It was observed that the skin regenerated in a completely healthy manner and covered over 80 percent of the body’s surface area.
The operations were a grand success. There is no complaint or re-occurrence of the blisters in the graft areas. He also returned to school, made it to the soccer team even.
- The Riddoch Phenomenon
A young woman, named Milena Canning, 30 from Scotland had to undergo surgery for respiratory infection and strokes. She was in the coma for almost 8 months before coming back. The trauma from the surgery blinded her. Several months later, she realized that she was able to see things that are in motion. For example, she was able to see the rain drizzling down the window, but could not see the window. She then cleverly started to move her brain to create an illusion of motion of the objects so that she could see and mastered it over time.
When her case became more of a mystery, many researchers conducted a variety of researches on her. They could finally diagnose her with the Riddoch phenomenon in which a patient is blind but can detect movement and thus make out things. Normally, in cases where lesions in the occipital lobe of the brain cause the syndrome, but in Canning ’s case, an apple-sized piece of the occipital lobe which is almost the entirety of the lobe was missing.
The tests were performed in 2018 to compile the most detailed map of a Riddoch brain. It had shown something very remarkable. Canning’s brain had circumnavigated almost all of the dead visual system by rewiring other areas. This was the conclusion that researchers could give on why her motion perception had survived.
- Walking Corpse Syndrome:
Cotard delusion or Walking Corpse Syndrome as it is popularly known as is a very rare mental illness. The person affected holds the delusional belief that he/she is already dead, do not exist, or putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs or in the process of losing them.
In the year 1880, the neurologist Jules Cotard for the first time described the condition as ‘The Delirium of Negation’. It is a psychiatric syndrome of varying severity ranging from mild to extremely severe. A mild case characterized as despair and self-loathing. A severe case characterized as the ‘very intense delusions of negation’ and ‘chronic psychiatric depression’.
In the early days, Cotard’s delusion was believed to be a purely psychiatric condition. But the ‘Mayo study’ found that the brain also plays a vital role, so it was concluded that it was not mental. Although some patients had a psychiatric diagnosis and schizophrenia, some of them only displayed neurological symptoms like headaches and seizures. Added to this, scans of several patients had tumors in their brains.
For now, though there is no solution to this problem, approaching it as a neurological rather than exclusively psychiatric condition could one day lead us to its cause and help develop better therapies eliminating the problem.
- Semi-Identical Twins
Yes, you heard me right, not identical, but semi-identical twins also exist in the world. In
Australia, a woman was told that she would be giving birth to identical twins as they shared the same placenta. But when she was 14 weeks into pregnancy, the ultrasound showed a boy and a girl. Doctors immediately knew that something was wrong because identical twins cannot be of different sexes.
The doctors soon realized that the condition as sesquizygotic, or semi-identical. Only the second case in the literature of the modern world, they posed a serious risk. After all, Sesquizygotic twins are born when the egg fertilized by two different sperm cells at the same time. Unlike the normal conception of two sets of chromosomes, these babies had three sets.
Although the children were male and female anatomically, both of them carried XX (female) and XY (male) sex chromosomes. Due to this, the girl had to get her ovaries removed. As of now, both the 4-year-old twins are quite healthy. And as a fun fact, on the father’s side, they are 78% identical while 100% on the mother’s side.
- Girls Turning Into Boys – Guevedoces Syndrome:
In a very small community in the Dominican Republic, the discovery where some males are born like girls and only grow penises after hitting puberty has led to the many researchers setting out to research on them. They are called the as the ‘Guevedoces’, which means “penis at 12.” But actually, these little girls were never really female.
This condition is caused because of the lack of an enzyme deficiency which impedes the development of male sex organs. Thus, at birth, everyone is so convincingly fooled that the children are female and are given girl names and raised as girls. But as puberty sets in and with the influx of testosterone, the Guevedoces girls finally start to develop their male genitalia. As they grow into adults, their height, beards, and testes are slightly undersized when compared to others, but they live as men and can reproduce without any problem.
- Sunset Paralysis:
There is a very particular family in our neighborhood state, Pakistan, who fear the sunsets or literally the nights. Two brothers Shoaib Ahmed who is 13 years old and the younger Abdul, who is 9 years old lead a perfectly normal life in the mornings starting from playing games to going to school. But as the Sun sets, the brothers become paralyzed. They cannot do anything including speak, eat, or at least open their eyes. Though the doctors have never seen this condition before, they are all alarmed. It is because the family already lost two other children in the recent past to the same strange paralysis.
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Doctors think that gender was a common factor as their only daughter is unaffected. In the year 2016, the brothers were brought in to the hospital of Islamabad and for the sake of medical curiosity and also to help them lead normal lives, they would be treated for free. After performing about 300 tests, no progress was made except for ruling out of some possibilities. It was found that light had no role at all in the paralysis as they were perfectly normal during the day in a completely dark room.
Also, they had no known nerve damages or sleeping disorders that could be linked up to the paralysis. Researchers now suspect that it could have its origin in the genes and is being expressed because the boys’ parents were first cousins. So, the researchers think, though not proved, that the expression of a rare recessive gene is the cause Strange Medical Conditions.