When most people think of bizarre medical conditions, what first comes to their mind is the “tree man” or a few other fascinating but at the same time horrible ailments documented and exhibited in the Discovery Channel. The fact is, however, the world of has much more examples than these. Below we present 15 bizarre medical conditions you’ve never heard of. We certainly didn’t.
1. Hemispatial neglect: the one-sided world.
“Hemispatial neglect” is a bizarre but intriguing medical condition that damages one side of the brain which results in the sufferer’s perception of one side of the world gets completely neglected. Ask a man suffering from hemispatial neglect to draw a circle and he’ll draw only half a circle.
This strange medical condition is usually the result of an injury. Unfortunately, recovery from this rare medical condition is typically slow and requires a long-time commitment. (source)
2. Stone Man Syndrome: muscles turn into bones.
There is a medical condition called “Stone Man Syndrome” that converts human muscles and other soft tissues into bones. To date, there’s no cure to this bizarre medical state.
On the bright side, such a condition is only found in one out of every two million people. Beginning in infancy, the signs of a person suffering from “Stone Man Syndrome” are that of having abnormally shaped and small big toes. While growing up the child develops painful nodules around the back, head, neck and shoulders. About 80% of the time this condition is misdiagnosed and consequently mistreated.
The earliest known case of “Stone Man Syndrome” was in France in 1692. Currently, there is an organization called International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association that researches and supports people suffering from this horrible medical condition. (source)
3. Fatal familial insomnia: dying to sleep.
There is a rare kind of chronic sleeplessness called “fatal familial insomnia” that leads to inevitable death. It’s caused by a gene inherited from a parent which remains dormant until the patient reaches their forties or fifties.
“Fatal familial insomnia occurs both in humans as well as animals. It strikes first in the nervous system and damages brain functions. Slowly the patient undergoes behavioral changes, loss of memory & intelligence, and ultimately suffers severe insomnia.
There is a story of a man from Vietnam known by the name Thai Ngoc in the year 2004 who claimed that he hasn’t slept at all since the year 1973, thirty-one years. Scientists believe that Ngoc actually takes “micro-naps” throughout the day without even knowing it. (source)
4. Syndrome X: anti-aging disease.
Brooke Greenberg was born in 1993 and died in 2013. At the time of his death, Brooke was 20-years-old and looked like a toddler. This is precisely what the effects of ‘Syndrome X‘ are. “Syndrome X” is like an anti-aging disease and is known to have affected only six people around the world. Beside losing the capability to age physically, the patient also stops aging mentally, despite living for decades. Researchers have estimated that Brooke’s mental age was that of a nine months to a one-year-old child.
So far no one knows what causes this disorder or how to cure it. (source)
5. Blue man syndrome: real life Smurfs.
There was a man who shot to worldwide fame when his skin turned permanently blue after years of self-medication. While Paul Karason, a.k.a. “Papa Smurf”, had self-administered colloidal silver causing a condition called “argyria”‘, there’s another disorder called “methemoglobinemia” that results in blue skin coloration.
In methemoglobinemia the color of blood changes from red to brown and the skin from white to blue. It’s a hereditary disease and is known to cause some rather serious illnesses like coma, seizures and even death. There’s a whole family called the “Blue Fugates” who had blue-tinged skin and lived in the Troublesome Creek Hills in Kentucky.(source)
6. Witzelsucht: inappropriate wisecracker.
Under this rare condition, a person tends to crack inappropriate jokes at the least appropriate times. This neurological disorder leads the patient to blabber pointless stories and make sexual comments and puns even after getting hints of people disapproving his or her abnormal behavior. A damaged frontal lobe, sometimes caused by trauma or tumor, can cause Witzelsucht. (source)
7. Hyperthymesia: highly superior autobiographical memory.
Those suffering from hyperthymesia are infatuated by their past. They have an extraordinary capability of recalling a vast amount of past episodes of their lives. This bizarre condition is called hyperthymesia and is otherwise known as having autobiographical memory.
A women named A.J. suffering from this medical condition describes her memory as “…nonstop, uncontrollable, and automatic.” Given a certain date, she could tell you what she had been doing that day and what day of the week it fell on. (source)
8. Harlequin ichthyosis: natural armor made of skin.
Also known as “harlequin baby”‘, it’s a severe genetic condition where the skin of a human becomes ten times thicker and grows very rapidly.
The body of a child suffering from harlequin ichthyosis is covered in armor-like, white thick plates of skin with deep cracks in places where a normal skin will have folds. The eyes and appendages become extremely contracted. The deep cracks serves as a rich ground for a bacterial infection that can lead to fatal infections.
Given today’s technology, “harlequin baby” is easily diagnosed via 3-D ultrasound. (source)
9. Aquagenic urticaria: water causes rashes.
This is a bizarre disease in which whenever the patient comes in contact with water, rashes and hives break out all over their skin. Aquatenic urticaria‘ occurs regardless of the season or temperature of water and is observed more among women than men.
The typical symptoms are sensations of burning or itching every time the skin is exposed to water. After one to fifteen minutes, rashes will appear accompanied by pain. People who suffer from aquatenic urticaria find it difficult to drink water.
The only treatment for aquatenic urticaria is to make the patient’s body comfortable in water using a long and involved desensitizing process. (source)
10. Alien hand syndrome: one hand goes wild.
This rare disorder causes one hand to behave on its own accord without the patient’s control. Sometimes the afflicted person has to use his normal, healthy hand to restrain the alien hand’s impromptu movements. (source)
11. Prosopagnosia: the inability to recognize faces.
When a person suffers from prosopagnosia, their ability to recognize faces becomes impaired. The rest of their brain functions normally. Prosopagnosia occurs after acute brain damage or can be the result of a birth defect. An estimated 2.5% of the world’s population suffers from this medical condition.
Several attempts at remediation using therapies have not resulted in any lasting improvement on prosopagnosia patients. (source)
12. Auto-brewery syndrome: getting drunk eating any food.
A man named Nick Hess wakes up every day feeling drunk and vomiting. This unusual medical condition occurs when the stomach and intestines experience an overgrowth of yeast and turn the carbohydrates present in any food consumed into alcohol. The alcohol then spreads into the blood system making the patient experience dizziness, exhaustion and nausea. Hess was suffering from ‘auto-brewery syndrome’. (source)
13. Capgras delusion: false belief in identical-looking impostors.
This condition is a delusion where the patient believes that a loved one, be it a friend, parent, spouse or any close family member, has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor.
Capgras delusion is usually seen in people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or dementia and can be caused by other kinds of brain injuries. It occurs more frequently among women and is often associated with migraine attacks and diabetes.
Individual therapy is the best way to deal with capgras delusion. (source)
14. Post-orgasmic illness syndrome: allergic to one’s own semen.
Some men are known to experience flu-like symptoms such as a runy nose, fever, severe exhaustion, or itching of eyes, immediately after ejaculation. They are suffering from “post-orgasmic illness syndrome” which takes up to three years to cure by undergoing hyposensitization therapy. In this therapy, the patients are injected with a solution containing a high concentration of their own semen over the course of a long period. (source)
15. Cotard delusion: A mental illness where you are completely sure that you are dead.
In this delusion, the patients are totally convinced that they are dead, literally or figuratively. A statistical analysis based on a hundred people who believe that they are walking corpses showed that 69% of the patients were living in denial of their own existence amid feelings of depression and self-loathing.
Once there was a women known as “Mademoiselle X” who was utterly convinced that she deserved to die an unnatural death. Eventually, she starved herself to death. (source)