There are all sorts of disease out there. Many we know all about, such as cancer or diabetes. Others are more common and less daunting, such as flus or asthma. But there are many diseases you’ve likely never heard about. Some of these are so rare that you’re unlikely to ever encounter someone who is afflicted with it in your lifetime. Here are 5 of the most peculiar diseases out there.
5. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland, but I bet you never knew it was a disease. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a disease that affects your perception. This means you are seeing objects appear bigger or smaller than their actual size. In the case of this disease, there is nothing wrong with the person’s eyes. Instead its a brain problem with processing images. In other cases people can have severe hallucinations, speak in non-sensicle words, or other things of a similar vain. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is usually a precursor to migraine headaches, or in more severe cases brain tumors. It’s named for Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carrol, who is believed to have suffered from it.
4. Werewolf Syndrome
Officially known as hypertrichosis, werewolf syndrome is a case of abnormal hair growth on the human body. In the days of sideshows (commonly known as freak shows), people with this condition were regular fixtures. In some cases hair can cover the entire face and body, showing no skin whatsoever. The condition can be congenital, meaning from birth, or acquired later in life, such as side effects from medication. The condition is manageable, but not curable. Aside from the appearance, people with hypertrichosis can lead normal lives. Shaving and other hair removal techniques, rather temporary or permanent, or good ways to manage the condition.
3. Moebius Syndrome
This is an extremely rare genetic disorder. People who are born with this condition are born with paralyzed faces. That means they are unable to move eyes, or show facial expressions. As a result of this, speaking ability and other common behaviors are greatly restricted. This could also lead to severe oral problems in life as well. Mental issues associated with the inability to physically display emotion in their face is also a possibility. Those with this condition have normal intelligence, but are unable to show it. There is no cure for this condition, but people with it can lead otherwise healthy lives. There are several treatments or methods to dealing with Moebius Syndrome, including cosmetic options, feeding tubes, and speech therapy.
Progeria is a very rare, and fatal, genetic disorder in which infants seem to age rapidly. It is estimated to occur in only 1 per 5 million births. There are less than 100 cases now. The lifespan for a child with this illness is about 13 years, though some have lived longer. The common cause of death resulting from Progeria is heart disease. Children suffering from this condition are small and fragile, and as they age lose their hair or have wrinkled skin. It is caused by a mutated gene. The disease has no cure. It can be somewhat managed with high calorie diets at first, and ultimately heart surgery. But that is treating the ailments caused by Progeria, not progeria itself. Children with this condition have normal mental development and are otherwise like any other child.
1. Locked-in Syndrome
Locked-in Syndrome is a condition in which someone has full awareness and alertness, but has paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for their eyes. This means they cannot move, speak, convey expressions, or anything else of that nature. They have full brain function aside from the muscle paralysis. This is a result of damage to the lower brain, which can be caused by a head injury, stroke, or other trauma to the brain. There is no cure for this condition, and treatment varies depending on the cases. A common technique is training people to communicate by blinking their eyes. Jean-Dominique Bauby, a famous French journalist, is the most famous case of Locked-in Syndrome. Bauby dictated an entire book letter by letter using eye blinking techniques. This is shown in the French film The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. There are no definite figures of how many people suffer from this condition, but it could be in the thousands each year.