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BIG LIST: Crazy Conditions

Friday 20 January 2012, 09:45AM

Some rare medical conditions have unintended benefits, but many others are just downright awful.

Exploding Head Syndrome: Yes, really – although it’s not as cool as it sounds. Sufferers won’t be cleaning up brain matter off the ceiling, but instead essentially hear a very loud noise (that isn’t actually there), usually when asleep. Symptoms can include the inability to vocalise any sound, bouts of sleep paralysis and frequent ‘WTF just happened’ moments. It's still not known what causes it.


 Walking Corpse Syndrome: Walking corpse syndrome is a neurophyciatric disorder where people are under the false belief that they are dead and rotting. Sufferers basically wander the earth telling people that they’re dead. Just to clarify, they’re not. The illusion can become so real that they can make up elaborate stories of their death.


 Alien Hand Syndrome: It’s the plot of a more than a few bad horror movies, but also a very bizarre reality for some: Hands with minds of their own that move and behave seemingly independent of the sufferer’s intentions. The ‘alien’ hands undo buttons, manipulate tools and even grope people without the awareness of those to whom the hands are attached - that's their excuse anyway.


 Human Werewolf Syndrome: For people with severe Hypertrichosis, hair grows profusely in all sorts of unusual places, such as freakin’ everywhere. Sometimes referred to as “human werewolf syndrome”, it involves excessive hair growth all over the body which grows back even after laser treatments. Only about 50 living people are currently known to have this condition, including Thai schoolgirl Supatra Sasuphan, named 'the world's hairiest girl'.


 Fish Odour Syndrome: We’ve all sat next to that smelly guy on the bus before. But try multiplying that smell by approximately infinity and you are somewhere in the region of someone suffering from trimethylaminuria. Sometimes called ‘fish odour syndrome’, because there’s no need to be sensitive to someone who smells like rotting fish, people with this condition can’t control the very strong smells that are emitted through their sweat, urine and breath because their bodies don’t properly break down a fishy-smelling organic compound found in food.


 Vampire Disease: More commonly known in the medical world as the much less awesome sounding cutaneos porphyria, vampire disease is a disorder where the victim’s skin experiences blisters, necrosis, itching and burning when exposed to sunlight. It also causes excess amounts of hair growth on body parts, particularly the forehead. Perhaps even weirder, and not vampire related, the victim’s urine turns different colours when exposed to sunlight. Doctors are also relatively sure that silver bullets and stakes through the heart will most likely kill sufferers, though this hasn’t been independently verified.


 Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: When objects appear much small or larger than they should – like dogs the size of mice, or ladybugs as big as a house – you’re either on drugs or experiencing Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (perhaps both), a temporary condition that affects our perception of the world around us. Doctors believe that it may involve the brain’s occipital lobe, which controls visual information. Or it may just be the drugs.


 Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome: Okay, so this one sounds awesome. But imagine having 200 plus orgasms every day. Still sounds awesome? Now imagine having 200 plus completely uncontrollable orgasms per day in very public places. There’s no known cure, although there are far less pleasurable conditions to be struck down with.

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