A host of medical hiccups can hit the human body. Microscopic bugs, injuries, and failing systems are the classics. More intriguing are the rare cases, some only appearing for the first or second time.
Say hello to semi-identical twins, children who cannot move after dark, and serious gender switching. The senses go haywire in unbelievable ways, but the brain, when injured or subjected to surgery, is responsible for some of the most unreal and often tragic conditions.
1. Uncombable Hair Syndrome
A rare condition gives people a wild hairdo. Called uncombable hair syndrome (UHS), it makes hair, well, difficult to comb. Only around 100 cases are known, and one of them is Taylor McGowan. When she was born around two years ago, she appeared fairly normal.
By the time she was five months old, Taylor grew the trademark silvery-blonde locks of UHS. Her parents noticed the super frizz, but a nurse told them that the hair would soon fall out. Taylor’s grandmother was the first to realize what was going on when she found photos of other UHS babies. The rarity of the condition made her parents dismiss the chance of Taylor having it.
However, genetic tests proved that the Chicago baby was indeed a member of this funky-looking group. From each surprised parent, she had inherited a copy of the PADI3 gene mutation. Normal hair shafts are smooth and round, but the mutation sprouts hair with grooves—and that’s why she looks like a baby Einstein.
2. Sunset Paralysis
In Pakistan, brothers Shoaib Ahmed, 13, and Abdul, 9, do everything expected of healthy kids—until the Sun sets. As soon as that happens, the brothers become paralyzed. They cannot speak, eat, or open their
Doctors have never seen this condition but have reason to be alarmed. The family lost two children in the past, and both had the strange paralysis . Gender was a common factor. The deceased kids were also boys. The family’s daughter was unaffected.
In 2016, Shoaib and Abdul took up residence in a hospital in Islamabad. For the sake of medical curiosity and helping the boys lead normal lives, the treatment was free. Over 300 tests later, the only medical progress was to rule out certain possibilities.
A lack of light had nothing to do with it. When placed in a dark room during the day, the brothers functioned perfectly. No nerve damage or sleeping disorders accounted for the paralysis. Researchers suspect that genetics could be behind the unique affliction because the boys’ parents are first cousins.
3. Girls Turning Into Boys
In the Dominican Republic, Turkey , and New Guinea, some parents welcome the birth of a new daughter. When puberty hits, however, the child actually turns into a boy. They are called the Guevedoces , a word that means “penis at 12.” These little girls were never female.
In affected boys, an enzyme deficiency impedes the development of male sex organs. At birth, they fool everyone so convincingly that the children are given female names and raised as girls. Come puberty and the influx of testosterone, the Guevedoces finally develop their male genitalia. As adults, their height, beards, and testes are slightly undersized, but they live as men and can have children.
Sometimes, only their names give away their feminine beginnings. Some never adopt male names. Although the condition is incredibly rare, around 1 percent of boys born in Salinas, a village in the Dominican Republic, are Guevedoces.
4. Reverse-Slope Hearing Loss
In 2019, a woman in China felt sick. Her ears rang, and soon afterward, she threw up. The next morning, she woke up with an exceptionally weird symptom—she could not hear her boyfriend’s voice. The woman, identified only as Chen, could hear everything else.
The female doctor who treated her noticed that Chen could hear her but not a man talking nearby. As it turned out, she could not hear male voices. The diagnosis was a rare condition known as reverse-slope hearing loss (RSHL). Patients fail to hear low frequencies—like deep male voices.
Many things can cause RSHL, including trauma, blood vessel problems, and autoimmune disorders. In Chen’s case, physicians found that a lack of sleep and work stress caused her strange deafness. Luckily, the prognosis was good. She was expected to make a full recovery given enough rest.
In general, when RSHL is treated within the first two days, most cases can be resolved with potent doses of steroids. Oddly, some cases spontaneously heal with no medical intervention at all.
5. Walking Corpse Syndrome
This gory-sounding illness makes people believe that they are dead. Officially called Cotard’s syndrome, it was first described in 1880. Almost no research was done to understand the rare condition.
In recent years, scientists sieved through the Mayo Clinic’s records dated from 1996 to 2016 to identify more cases. They found 12. The four women and eight men all had nihilistic delusions . They believed that they were either dead or dying or that their organs were missing or in the process of being destroyed. Oddly, three of the patients had the same “death.” They all claimed to have been killed by medical staff.
In the past, Cotard’s was believed to be a psychiatric condition. But the Mayo study found that the brain played a role, one that was not mental. Although eight patients had a psychiatric diagnosis, including schizophrenia, five displayed neurological symptoms like headaches and seizures.
The physical evidence for Cotard’s also received a strong boost when scans found seven of the individuals had brain lesions. Approaching it as a neurological rather than exclusively psychiatric condition could one day solve its cause and help develop better therapies.
This post was culled from listverse, you can read the full article here