Aug 3 2009

7 Strangest People on Earth

Science can’t always explain human ailments and illnesses, and even more often it cannot explain human behavior. Some of the world’s strangest people are those who have done extraordinary things, and other are those who are medical marvels. Some of the most baffling medical conditions and new technologies lead us to believe that there is much in the medical world that we just don’t understand.

It is important to take a deeper look into these incredible people and the situations they have had to go through to get them where they are today.

1- The Girl who doesn’t age

One of the most astonishing stories is about Brooke Greenberg, the girl who doesn’t age. This 16 year old is barely larger than a toddler and still exhibits the same physical characteristics as a normal 16-month-old girl. However, Brooke’s condition is completely baffling to the medical community. Brooke’s aging inconsistencies and lack of brain development has made her stay a toddler for 16 years, however she has never been diagnosed with any genetic diseases or chromosomal abnormalities which would help to explain her condition.

Brooke’s condition has been evaluated by numerous doctors with no greater understanding for her health state. Some doctors explain that Brooke’s body has not yet aged past 8 years old, and her body as whole is not aging as a coordinated unit. They go on to explain how her body is somewhat disconnected, with different parts aging at different rates which may help to explain her lack of normal growth. Brooke is able to recognize sounds, but at the age of 16 still cannot speak.

Brooke’s lack of aging has given some hope for a “fountain of youth”, but does Brooke really hold the secret to everlasting youth? Scientists and doctors alike are still mystified by her condition. Time may be the only factor that can tell whether Brooke will start aging normally, or if she is to forever be an adult trapped in a child’s body and mind.

2- Non-Stop Hiccups for 15 months!

Another case of bizarre medical enigmas is the case of Christopher Sands. Have you ever had such a bad case of hiccups that traditional remedies such as a glass of water or holding your breath won’t cure it? Well, Christopher has been suffering hiccups for more than two years.

How does this happen? Medical science is still baffled. Christopher states that he’ll go into 14 hours of hiccupping nonstop, or he’ll not be hiccupping but always on the verge of starting a new attack. His hiccups keep Sands from sleeping and eating and performing many other normal activities. He’s tried countless home remedies trying to battle his hiccups with no success. These remedies have included hypnosis, yoga, and herbal medications, all of which never cured his hiccupping problem.

Doctors claim that hiccupping is normally a problem with the diaphragm, but Christopher’s diaphragm showed no cause of his frequent hiccupping. Mr. Sands is still searching for solutions to his chronic hiccupping and is stated to soon be traveling across America looking for the cure.

3- “The Iceman”

The next case of strange people showcases Mr. Wim Hof, a man who never gets cold. Mr. Hof holds the Guinness world record for immersing himself in ice for over an hour. This strange trait has allowed him to run a marathon in the Arctic Circle in his bare feet and dive under ice at the North Pole.

Now Hof has scaled Mount Everest in his shorts, withstanding extremely frigid temperatures without the protection of cold-weather clothing. Hof states he started his fascination with withstanding very cold temperatures many years ago by trying to swim in icy water. He enjoyed it so much that he did it every day.

Scientists predict that Hof can merely control his reaction to the cold and uses this control to withstand temperatures most other humans cannot. Whatever the cause, Hof is certainly know as the man who never gets cold.

4- Dead or Alive?

This next case of strange people is about a man who was claimed as officially dead from 1976 until 1994, despite all of his efforts to fight the Indian government to prove otherwise. Lal Bihari is a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, India. Mr. Bihari found out in 1976 while trying to apply for a loan that he was considered officially dead by the government. It seems that Mr. Birhari’s uncle has bribed government officials to register Mr. Bihari as dead so that he could claim Bihari’s land.

During his fight against the government trying to claim the fact that he was alive, Bihari found out that at least a hundred others had been in a similar situation and considered dead when they were not. He tried to use his unique situation to his advantage by organizing his own funeral and demanding a widow’s compensation for his wife. He founded the Mritak Sangh for those who were in danger of being killed over their properties. This association now has over twenty thousand members all over India. In 1994, Bihari had his official death annulled after a very long struggle to prove he was alive.

5- Musicogenic Epilepsy

What happens when the mere thought of a certain song will send you into an epileptic seizure? One young lady by the name of Stacey Gale was experiencing that exact occurrence. One evening while Stacey was enjoying a cookout with friends, she experienced a seizure when the song “Temperature” was playing. Stacey also had a similar experience at a restaurant. It became so bad that Stacey had to get a part of her brain surgically removed to try and control her seizures.

Scientists claim that seizures caused by something like a certain song playing may be triggered by the part of the brain that processes emotions. Certain types of music can overlap with the parts of the brain that causes seizures.

Most people who experience seizures can control them through medication. If that is not effective, however, doctors may consider brain surgery as the only way to control outbreaks. In Stacey’s case, she could only find relief in surgery, as even the thought of the song started to trigger seizures.

6- First-Ever Face Transplant

One of the most extraordinary cases of medical miracles is the case of Connie Culp. She was the very first recipient of a full face transplant in the United States. Connie’s story is a sad one. In 2004, Connie’s husband shot her in the face and the turned the gun on himself. Connie’s face was mutilated, bone fragments and shotgun pellet embedded in her face. It took over 30 operations to get her where she is today. The doctors used parts of her ribs to reconstruct her face and cheekbones and she had her upper jaw fashioned from one of her leg bones.

In a 22-hour operation, doctors used the muscles, nerves, blood vessels and bone from another woman who had just died. This surgery was a success, and now Connie is able to breathe and eat on her own again, as well as smell.

7- Allergic to Water!?

This last case is one that would baffle anyone. Imagine not being able to take a soak in the tub or get your hair wet. The girl who is allergic to water, a rare skin disorder called Aquagenic Urticria, can’t enjoy things like swimming or showering. Ashleigh Morris, a 19 year old Australian teenager, breaks out every time she sweats because of her skin’s extreme sensitivity to water.

The welts that Ashleigh experiences when she comes into contact with water are very painful. Many people wonder how she bathes. Though she is allergic to water, she must wash herself and takes showers for minutes at a time since it is such a painful experience. She stays indoors for hours after each shower just to allow the rash to subside before going out in public.

Ashleigh states that her condition was found after she had a particularly bad case of tonsillitis. After taking a large dose of penicillin, she noticed that she would get painful rashes after she swam or took showers. Her dermatologist studied her condition and found that the penicillin may have altered the histamine levels in Ashleigh’s body, causing this allergic reaction to water. Ashleigh has lived with this condition since she was just 14 years old and continues to live with this very rare skin disorder today.