We’re all familiar with common medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But there are several illnesses that are so rare they’ve only been mentioned a handful of times in medical journals. Read on to learn about five of the most shocking medical syndromes seen by physicians.
Werewolf Syndrome. Talk about having a bad hair day. Congenital hypertrichosis lanuginosa, known better as “Werewolf Syndrome,” is a hereditary disorder that results in fine hair covering the face, body, palms, and soles of the feet. The condition is so rare that only 50 cases have been documented in medical literature.
Foreign Accent Syndrome. Imagine waking up one day with a different accent. That is exactly what happens with people afflicted with Foreign Accent Syndrome. This unusual condition has been documented fewer than 100 times since it was first recognized in 1907. FAS can happen to anyone, regardless of their native language, and typically appears after a traumatic brain injury, stroke or aneurysm, although sometimes mental illness is the culprit. If the condition resulted from a brain injury, it’s usually treated using speech therapy to help the patient regain his or her natural accent and speech patterns.
Autobrewery Syndrome. Individuals afflicted with this rare condition can become drunk without taking a sip of alcohol. That’s because their digestive systems ferment starchy food and fungi, transforming them into alcohol. In one case, a sufferer was arrested for drunk driving and had a blood-alcohol level four times higher than the legal limit. Researchers suspect that long-term antibiotic use or certain preexisting medical conditions like diabetes or Crohn’s disease may be behind what causes this ailment.
Alien Hand Syndrome. Imagine one of your hands having a mind of its own. That’s exactly what happens when someone is afflicted with Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS). A person experiencing AHS may suddenly discover that he or she has no control over the limb’s behavior. This atypical and peculiar condition has occurred after certain brain surgeries or brain injuries. There is no known treatment for Alien Hand Syndrome, which can last for days or years.
Fish Odor Syndrome. Someone’s offensive body odor may not be due to poor hygiene. Trimethylaminuria (TMA) is an unusual genetic disease that causes people to stink like rotting fish. The stench is emitted in a person’s sweat, breath, and urine and is caused by an increase in a certain bacteria that release the chemical trimethylamine as it breaks down food in the gut. There’s no cure for Fish Odor Syndrome however, avoiding certain foods and using special soaps and lotions can reduce its stinky symptoms.