Strange Diseases

strange diseases from the internet
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  Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis, Lewandowsky- Lutz dysplasia, “Tree Man Syndrome”   What appears to be tree bark growing out of someone’s skin may actually be  Epidermodysplasia verruciformis . Of course, it isn’t bark. These growths are actually warts that can be exacerbated  by exposure to sunlight. While these warts may be benign early in life, they can become malignant later in life. The warts are caused by a rare mutation of the EVER1/EVER2 genes. Though the function of the genes isn’t really well -understood, the mutations cause the skin to be extremely susceptible to human papillomaviruses 5 and 8, which typically don’t cause disease. While there are some treatment options available to mitigate the symptoms, there is no cure. Image credit: Getty Images Xeroderma Pigmentosum, “Vampire Syndrome”      Humans need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D, but too much exposure to the Sun’s UV rays can damage the skin. Approximately 1 in 1 million people have xeroderma pigmentosum and are extremely sensitive to UV rays. These people must be completely shielded from sunlight, or will experience extreme sunburns and breakdown of the skin. If someone with the condition isn’t careful, they could easily develop skin cancer. Xeroderma pigmentosum is caused by a rare recessive mutation of the nucleotide excision repair enzymes. Functioning normally, these enzymes correct damaged DNA that can be caused by UV rays. For those with this condition, the enzymes do not work properly and DNA damage persists and accumulates. While there are some treatments available, the best prevention from damage is merely staying completely out of sunlight, just like a vampire.  NASA/SDO   Elephantiasis   Elephantiasis is an obstruction of lymphatic vessels which causes extreme swelling of skin and tissues, typically in the legs or testicles. This disfiguring condition can be brought about in several ways, though a mosquito-borne parasite is the most common cause. Over 40 million  people have been affected by the condition. There are medications available to kill the parasite, so early intervention will produce the best result. There are surgical options if the elephantiasis affects the testicles, but not the limbs. Hypertrichosis, “Werewolf Syndrome”     While many women may pluck their eyebrows to remove a few unsightly stray hairs, those who suffer from hypertrichosis have abnormal hair growth covering their bodies. Faces can be completely covered in long hair, which is why the condition has earned the nickname of “werewolf syndrome.”  Hypertrichosis can be either congenital or acquired. Those born with the condition can suffer from one of several known genetic mutations. Some who get the condition later in life acquired it as a side effect from anti-  balding treatments (be careful what you wish for…), thou gh there are some who do not have an obvious cause. Treatment options include traditional methods of hair removal, though even waxing and laser treatments typically don’t provide long -lasting results.  Darren and Brad via   flickr  , CC BY-NC 2.0   Aquagenic urticaria, “Water Allergy”  As the majority of our body is made out of water, it seems odd that an allergy to it would even exist. Though it  isn’t a true allergy    because it doesn’t trigger a histamine response, there are some who develop itchy hives and welts even after mere minutes of water exposure.
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