December 31, 2011

5 Weirdest Diseases around the World

Conditions that cause rarities in development aren’t commonly discussed. However, there are a lot of deformities and disease out there that are definitely interesting. Here are the top 5.

1. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain

What would it be like to live without pain? It may sound like something you’d prefer, but if you think about it, pain is useful. It tells us when something is wrong. What would happen if you touched a burning pot, but couldn’t feel the pain? You may be burned badly before noticing. Those with congenital insensitivity to pain do not feel pain. This causes the need for constant supervision while young and vigilance as an adult. Many die at a young age because of this rare disease.

2. Human Werewolf Syndrome

This condition causes lanugo, the hair that newborns have at birth, to persist. Typically, this hair falls off within a few months of birth, but with this disease, it continues to grow, causing the person to be covered in hair except on their hands and feet. Over time, it may eventually disappear, or it could get worse, depending on the case.

3. Elephantiasis

This condition causes one member of the body (arm or leg) to grow out of proportion to the rest of the body. It is caused by various parasitic worms that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Because of the mode of transmission, this disease shows up primarily in third-world countries. Public health practices, like the use of mosquito nets, are being put into place to reduce the transmission of these parasites.

4. Methemoglobinemia, or Blue Skin Disease

How would you like to have blue skin? It may sound alien to you, but it’s an actual condition that is caused by the blood having too much methemoglobin. This increased methemoglobin makes it difficult for the blood to release oxygen into tissues, causing the skin to look blue. The most famous example is the Fugate family of Kentucky. Because of genetics, this condition had been passed down through the Fugate family since the 19th century.

5. Foreign Accent Syndrome

This happens when someone’s natural accent changes so that their native language sounds like it’s being pronounced with a foreign accent. Typically, it’s caused by some type of trauma to the brain areas that control linguistic patterns. In one case, a British woman began to speak with a Chinese accent after a severe migraine. Other cases have been caused by severe head traumas or strokes.

These are just a few of the most fascinating diseases around the world. Have you heard of any other rare diseases that should be added to this list?

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