Diseases and conditions are inevitable on our planet and many people nationwide are being diagnosed with some type of disease and condition minute by minute. You may be familiar with the common diseases and conditions including heart disease, cancer, stroke, asthma, diabetes, H1N1, tuberculosis, and the list goes on and on. Some diseases and conditions are curable and some we are still researching, hoping to find a cure. Individuals who have a weird disease or condition are commonly misunderstood and have a difficult time coping with their daily lives. Here are my top 5 weirdest diseases and conditions that you may or may not have heard of. These weird diseases and conditions are rare and heartbreaking due to the physical appearances, and it is hard to imagine what the individual and their family has to go through having one of these weird diseases and conditions.
Treeman is a name that was given to a very rare condition that is believed to be caused by a genetically inherited immune defect and a type of human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. The HPV-2 virus causes common warts and a person with the treeman condition not only has warts, but has hands and feet that resemble the roots of a tree. An American Doctor, Dr. Anthony Gaspari from from the University of Maryland, was credited for diagnosing a man named Dede from Indonesia. Dede has had surgery to remove the tree-like stems and warts, but they keep growing. Another man, Zainal has also been diagnosed with the treeman condition who also lives in Indonesia and has surgery as well. There has been a third case found from the Netherlands, and his name is Ivan. Although Ivan is from the Netherlands, his father grew up in Indonesia. Since all three men have genetic roots in Indonesia, there are hopes to find a genetic link.
2. Parasitic Twin
A parasitic twin is very similar to a conjoined twin because they both never separate. A parasitic twin is different from a conjoined twin because the twin embryo begins developing in utero, and the embryo does not fully separate and doesn’t complete the process. One of the embryo dominates the other at their expense, and will actually consume and absorb the other twin into their body. One of the twins ceases development during gestation and is vestigial to an almost fully-formed, healthy individual twin. The underdeveloped twin is known as the parasitic instead of conjoined because the twin is not completely formed or is completely dependent on the body functions of the twin fetus that is complete. The parasitic twin can be an extra head, an extra limb, or an extra body part. Parasitic twins are rare and according to Medical News Today, occur in around one in 500,000 births and there have been only 90 such recorded cases in the world.
Progeria, also known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, which is the most severe form of the progeria disease, is a genetic disease of childhood that is caused by mutations in the LMNA gene. This is a very heartbreaking condition since it effects children. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, one out of four million newborns worldwide are born with progeria. When a child is born with this disease and condition, they look normal in their appearance, but within a year, the child’s growth rate slows down, while other children their age continue to grow in height and weight. Children with progeria have a short stature and they begin to show signs that resemble premature aging with physical features of baldness, loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, their teeth is delayed or absent, a pinched nose, protruding ears, and a small face and jaw compared to their head. Their joints are abnormal and they experience stiffness and may have dislocations of the hip. They lose a lot of fat under their skin, and can develop cardiovascular disease that progresses very rapidly. This is a very sad, rare, and fatal disease. Children who are born with the progeria, have a very short lifespan, surviving on average at age 13. There is no cure for Progeria, and the Progeria Research Foundation is looking for a cure or an effective treatment for children with progeria. With our economy, many people are having a difficult time donating to any charity, but you can easy help donate by simply using the search engine, goodsearch.com. Just surf the web using goodserach.com, and you will be making a contribution of about a penny per search that doesn’t come out of your pocket. Just add the GoodSearch toolbar to your browser and then type in PRF in the “my charity” box. One day, researches may find a cure to this heartbreaking disease and condition.
Elephantiasis, also known as lymphatic filariasis, is a disease where humans develop grossly enlarged areas on the body, along with extreme thickening of the skin as well as the tissue underneath. This commonly occurs in the arms, legs, male genitals and female breast. Elephantiasis is caused by lymphatic filariasis or podoconiosis, which is a parasitic disease. Elephantiasis occurs when an infected mosquito bites a human and that mosquito releases hundreds of tiny thread-like larvae of parasitic worms (Wucheria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and B. timori) that enter into their bloodstream and travels to the lymphatic system. These worms grow into adult worms that can grow 3 – 4 inches long. The worms continually mate and produce more larvae. They restrict circulation and cause fluid to build up in surrounding tissues which show signs of infection that are visible by the excessively large arms, legs, genitalia, and breasts. A human with Elephantiasis is also a host to continue the Elephantiasis life cycle. During the day, the worms hang out in the lungs, but at night these worms travel out of the lungs and migrate towards the skin, and this is where the life cycle continues. A healthy mosquito bites the infected human who has Elephantiasis and then that mosquito becomes infected and finds another victim. This disease is wide spread in tropical areas and in East Asia. Elephantiasis may also occur in a nonparasitic form that is also known as nonfilarial elephantiasis, or podoconiosis. According to the 2007 Podoconiosis in the Dembidollo and Nekemte Area, West-Ethiopia Report, this is a geochemical disease that occurs in individuals who are exposed to red clay soil derived from alkaline volcanic rock. These individuals absorb silica particles through the skin of their feet, which induces an inflammatory response in the lymphatic vessels, which leads to fibrosis and obstruction of the vessel lumen. This initially leads to oedema of the foot and lower leg, and then progresses to elephantiasis.
5. Werewolf Syndrome
The Werewolf Syndrome is a name given to the scientific term hypertrichosis, and is a very weird disease and condition. An individual who suffers from Werewolf Syndrome, has their body covered entirely with hair, except for the palms of their hands, and soles of their feet. The Werewolf Syndrome is a rare genetic condition and can be present at birth (congenital condition), or acquired later in life (acquired hypertrichosis). The congenital condition is caused by genetic mutations and noticeable when an infant is born covered in lanugo hair, which is normally shed prior to birth. The acquired hypertrichosis happens after birth and may cover the entire body, or it can be just localized to one area. There have been only 50 verified human werewolf cases since the middle ages, and there have been several famous people in the past who have had werewolf syndrome, who have performed due to their rare disease. Julia Pastrana was known as the “bearded lady” in the mid-1800’s. Fedor Jeftichew was born in 1868, and was known as Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy who became a famous sideshow performer with P.T. Barnum. Stephan Bibrowski was born in 1891, and was known as Lionel the Lion-Faced man who was also known as a sideshow performer. Some recent cases are Jesus “Chuy” Aceves who appeared on television, “It’s Not Easy Being a Wolf Boy” on the BBC channel. He has also worked with Circus Vargas and Cirque Royal. You can watch him on The Learning Channel: Weird True & Freaky: Hypertrichosis The Real Wolf Man.
Resources and Interesting Videos:
Medical News Today
National Human Genome Research Institute
Progeria Research Foundation
2007 Podoconiosis in the Dembidollo and Nekemte Area, West-Ethiopia Report
TLC: Weird True & Freaky: Hypertrichocis The Real Wolf Man
Dede the Treeman
Dr. Anthony Gaspari
Progeria – Old at age 3
Elephantiasis – Monster Inside Me
Werewolf Syndrome – Jesus “Chuy” Aceves