Awfully Weird Diseases

Progeria is an extremely rare disease in which aspects of aging are manifested at an early age. Progeria occurs in 1 out of 8 million births. A child born with this disease will die in his mid teens or at the most will see his early twenties. This devastating disease is the fruit of a single tiny defect in the child’s genetic code in which cytosine is replaced with thymine in the LMNA gene. In addition to the abnormal aging, the symptoms also include heart diseases, skin changes, loss of hair and arthritis. Presently there are 49 cases of Progeria in the world, five belonging to the same family.

Attraction towards beauty is a human behavior. We all like looking at beautiful objects and art. But the case is not so enjoyable for these people. Standhal’s Syndrome or the Florence Syndrome is a mental disease in which a person experiences increasing heart beats, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when exposed to art or even worse, beautiful art. The symptoms can also occur in the case of a place accommodating large amount of art at a single place. This weird disease is named after the famous French author Stendhal who described his experience with the phenomenon during his visit to Florence in 1817 in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

Alien Hand Syndrome is a rare disease in which one hand functions involuntarily. Imagine relaxing in your backyard, enjoying a peaceful breezy Sunday morning. When one of your hands eases up, wraps around your neck, and you wake up finding your own hand with a strong grip on your throat. You try to loosen it with your other hand, finger by finger, and at last escapes from your own killing grip. You start looking at your hand with all the shock in the world to feel as if your hand is no more yours. This sounds like the screenplay of a horror movie of the 1960s, but actually this is what can happen to you in the case of Alien Hand Syndrome.

There are many theories about the cause of this weird disease. One theory says that the AHS is caused by the disconnection between different parts of the brain, as a result different parts of the brain are able to command bodily movements. This weird disorder was identified in 1909 and only 40 to 50 cases are recorded since then.

Elephatiasis is best known by swelling of the skin and tissues especially in the legs. The name of the disease means, “inflammation of the elephant”. The characteristic symptoms of Elephantiasis includes swelling of the lower parts of the body specially legs. Elephantiasis is caused by parasitic thread-like worms which are transmitted in the human body by mosquitoes. The disease is most widely spread in India and Africa specially Ethiopia where Elephantiasis occurs in almost 6% of the population in the worst affected areas.

Trichotillomania is a weird mental syndrome in which the sufferer experiences strong urge to pull one’s hair out. The hair are most commonly pulled from the scalp resulting into hair loss, but eyebrows and eyelashes can also be the more affected sites. The name Trichotillomania consists of three parts, ‘trich’ meaning hair, ’till’ to pull and ‘mania’ meaning extreme love for an object, person or activity. So Trichotillomania is extreme love for pulling out hair.

Pica is the diseases which generates an urge to eat stuff other than food. Pica sufferers eat soil, paper, stones and even feces. The disease is most common in children and is usually caused by mineral deficiency.

Hypertrichosis or the Werewolf syndrome is the abnormal growth of hair on the body. The weird and strange disease is called the werewolf syndrome because the sufferers look like werewolf excepts for the sharp teeth and claws. The most important symptom of this disease is the growth of excess hair on all over the body even covering the whole face. The werewolf disease is completely genetic and is inherited from parents. One of the most famous cases of the werewolf syndrome is that Saputra Sasuphan, an 11 year old girl, who was named as the world’s most hairiest girl.