Ten Strangest Diseases in Medical History

These rare diseases have some of the most unusual signs and symptoms in medicine. In fact, these strange illnesses are so uncommon that in many cases the symptoms may be misdiagnosed, and the causes are still unknown.  

10. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain 

Frequency: 100 documented cases in the United States.  

Description: An inability to feel pain. People with this illness may die young from injuries because they lack pain perception, and must be constantly supervised so they don’t injure themselves. 

Cause: A mutation in a gene located in the neurons associated with the reception and transmission of pain stimulus. 

9. Moebius Syndrome

Frequency: About 80 documented cases in Spain, 200 in the U.K., and about 300 each year in Europe. 

Description: People born with Moebius Syndrome have undeveloped facial nerves that make them unable to make facial expressions. Along with being unable to smile, frown or control their blinking, they have difficulty swallowing, speaking and doing any activity that involves facial muscles. 

Cause: Unknown.

8. True Hermaphroditism 

Frequency: Around 500 documented cases in the world.  

Description: Hermaphrodites have components of both sexes, including both testicular and ovarian tissue. They may have a feminine or masculine appearance, and their external genitals may have characteristics of both sexes. 

Cause: When two zygotes that were going to be twins of different sexes become fused, it results in one individual that is, genetically, both a man and a woman. It is not know why the fusion of zygotes occurs.  

7. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva 

Frequency: Between 200 and 300 documented cases around the world, although it’s thought that this condition is often undiagnosed. It is estimated that one case appears in every 2 million births. 

Description: Injuries to connective tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons) result in the formation of bone around the damaged site. Injuries may cause joints to become frozen in place, and eventually a second skeleton begins to form that restricts mobility. Surgery is not an option to remove the bone growth because the body would try to repair the area with more bone.  

Cause: Unknown. 

6. Ondine’s curse (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome) 

Frequency: Between 200 and 300 cases exist around the world, but it’s estimated that one baby out of every 200,000 could have this disease. 

Description: The mechanisms of involuntary breathing do not work properly. In the most serious cases, this means a person cannot sleep without assisted ventilation. In more mild forms, patients can sleep through the night, but the lack of oxygen makes sleep difficult.   

Cause: The main cause is one or several mutations of PHOX2B gene with autosomal dominant inheritance. 

5. Proteus Syndrome 

Frequency: About 200 documented cases in the world.  

Description: This is the syndrome that afflicted Joseph Merrick, the “Elephant Man.” It causes malformations, irregular growth of bones, hyperpigmentation and partial gigantism of your limbs.  

Cause: Unknown.  

4. Progeria (Hutchinson-Gilford Syndrome) 

Frequency: Around 100 documented cases, although it often is not diagnosed.  

Description: People with progeria age very quickly. They appear normal at birth, but then quickly acquire wrinkles, lose their hair and suffer damage to their arteries that results in death during adolescence. 

Cause: Most of the cases of progeria are caused by mutations of autosomal dominant inheritance in the LMNA gene. This gene participates in the maintenance of nuclear stability and the organization of chromatin. It may also help to regulate genetic expression, synthesis and DNA repair.   

3. True Human Tail (Vestigial Tail) 

Frequency: Around 100 documented cases in the world. 

Description: The presence of a vestigial tail in the final zone of the sacral bone. This tail is made of connective tissue, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, skin, vertebrae and cartilage. 

Cause: Unknown, possibly caused by a genetic mutation. 

2. Parasite Twin (Fetus in Fetus) 

Frequency: Around 100 documented cases in the world. 

Description: Two twins do not separate fully, and while one twin may be healthy, the other degenerates and remains inside the other. If the host twin survives, he or she may show extra organs or swelling in the area where the parasitic fetus resides (this is typically in the abdominal region, but may also occur in the skull, *** or sacral region).  

Cause: This is an exaggerated case of Siamese twins, but the cause remains unknown. 

1. Human Werewolf Syndrome (Congenital Hypertrichosis Lanuginosa) 

Frequency: About 40-50 documented cases in the world.  

Description: People who suffer from it are completely covered in lanugo hair except on the palms of their feet and hands. Lanugo is a thin, off-white hair that appears on newborns but typically disappears during the first few weeks of life. The maximum hair length that has been documented is about 25 centimeters. 

Cause: Unknown.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

There are two ways of looking at the issue of diseases and genetic disabilities (of which these are some very extreme examples). 

One, sees the human organism as a whole, taking everything into account, whereas the other breaks the organism apart into tiny pieces, and, much like an architect who tries to discern the utility of a building by studying a single brick, these scientists believe they can cure all ills by simply cracking your genetic code. 

Bruce Lipton, PhD., is a forerunner in the field of epigenetics and The New Biology. Even though his research and scientific evidence spans two decades, it’s only in the more recent years that his findings have begun to reach the minds of the established medical community, albeit in small, limited numbers. 

In my recent interview with Bruce Lipton, he explained why your genes do not predetermine your fate.  

As proven through the massive genetic study, the Genome Project, they found that their preconceived idea that each gene creates one protein, was incorrect. Rather, each gene can create up to 30,000 proteins, any and all of which can create a different outcome. So the fact that you have a genetic “predisposition” for breast cancer, for example, does not mean that you are doomed to develop breast cancer at some time in your life. 

Lipton’s research fills in the blank between genetic predisposition, and why some actually develop the disease. Conventional researchers have still not been able to determine what, or why, some develop the disease, and others don’t. Something “sets it off,” or keeps it dormant. But what? 

Through the new biology of epigenetics, we get the answer to that question. It is your Mind that sets it off. Your mind controls your genetic expression. 

This also falls right in line with Dr. Geerd Hamer’s two-decade long research, which he has dubbed the German New Medicine – that “disease” is created by an emotional conflict crisis.  

When you combine these two separate “new biologies,” both of which have extensive scientific evidence to back them up, you end up with the conclusion that you are very literally in control of your physical health, state of disease, and whether or not you end up expressing your genetic potential, for better or worse. 

Additionally, while your body does possess an innate ability to heal, it can also be harmed, or helped, by things that happen even before you are born. As a fetus, you are intricately connected to your mother’s emotional and physical state, which may influence you synergistically.  

There are clearly many factors that work together, resulting in the strange diseases listed above, and, although the mind-body connection is ever present, you cannot dismiss the impact that can be caused by environmental chemicals like flame retardants and PCBs.  

Many of these chemicals are passed on to newborns either in utero or through breast milk, and they may cause mutations that might not impact you or even your children, but one day may surface, if and when the psychological territory is “right” to make it manifest.  

Another example is pesticides, which are known to cause mutations in frogs that lead to sexual abnormalities,  and phthalates, a chemical commonly used in plastics, can cause lowered sperm counts, sexual deformities and early puberty. 

It may be difficult to reconcile personal responsibility (through your mind) with toxic exposure, and genetic predisposition, however, it might make more sense to simply remember that nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything is interconnected and plays a role, including your state of mind; how you handle stressful events in your life;  the state of your immune system and overall fitness; your toxic load; to your genetic predispositions and weaknesses.  

Sometimes you have the psychological and physical capacity to regenerate and heal, despite assault from toxins, for example. Other times, if you have ignored your immune system for any length of time, and suffer an extreme emotional shock, it may set off a chain of events that causes disease.  

That said, rather than lamenting over past toxic exposure it is far healthier to take control over that which you can positively influence, such as your diet, your physical fitness, your emotional state, and your current and future exposure to toxins. 

You can limit your exposure to environmental chemicals as much as possible with the following tips: 

  • Buy and eat, as much as possible, organic produce and free-range, organic foods.
  • Rather than eating fish, which is largely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, consume a high-quality purified krill oil.
  • Avoid processed foods -- remember that they're processed with chemicals!
  • Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search online for them.
  • Switch over to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. Same sources here, either your local health food store or you can search online.
  • Avoid spraying insect repellants that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there.
  • Remove any metal fillings as they're a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist. Although nearly any dentist is technically qualified to replace your amalgam fillings, far less than 95 percent have any clue on how to do it properly so your risk of mercury exposure is minimized.
  • Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing.
  • Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG.
  • Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time. 

With that in mind, I urge you to continue to explore the many pages of vital health information on this site, and carry on your quest to Take Control of Your Health.

+ Sources and References