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10 Baffling Medical Conditions

Here are some unusual medical conditions that have received recent media attention.

When You Can't Open Your Eyes for Three Days

Natalie Adler, 21, of Caulfield South, Melbourne, Australia, says she can sense the onset of her unusual condition. "The night before it sets in, my eyes get quite heavy and that is how I know it is coming," says Adler. Invariably, the next morning she finds herself unable to open her tightly shut eyes. The bouts generally last for about three days, after which she can open her eyes and once again see normally. Doctors are baffled as to the exact cause. For now, Adler receives Botox treatments to the muscles surrounding her eyes. The injections often help her to keep her eyes open, but she said that the effectiveness of the treatments is starting to wane.

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome

Persistent sexual arousal syndrome, or PSAS, sounds like a dirty joke. However, for the women who experience it, the condition is a nightmarish curse. The condition causes the sensation of being perpetually at the brink of orgasm. It is often only partially relieved through orgasm.

The Man Who Never Gets Cold

Wim Hof, 49, of the Netherlands, possesses such a strong resistance to cold that scientists remain baffled as to how it is possible. The Guinness world record holder has immersed himself, nearly naked, in ice for one hour and 12 minutes. In January 1999 he traveled 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle to run a half marathon in his bare feet. Three years later, dressed only in a swimsuit, he dove under the ice at the North Pole and swam 80 meters. Hof earned more recent renown for scaling Mount Everest in his shorts.

People Who Are Allergic to Cold

On the other end of the spectrum from Hof are those with a condition known as cold urticaria -- an allergy to cold temperatures. If you put an ice cube on somebody that has cold urticaria, they develop a welt where the ice cube was. Worse, those with the condition can expect to experience similar reactions to bitter winds and cold surfaces. A minor exposure can result in the formation of itchy, uncomfortable bumps. A major exposure -- such as diving into a chilly swimming pool -- could theoretically be enough to cause a potentially deadly allergic shock.

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep

Four-year-old Rhett Lamb stays awake nearly 24 hours a day. After a number of conflicting diagnoses, Rhett was finally determined to have an extremely rare condition called chiari malformation. His brain was literally squeezed into his spinal column, causing compression, squeezing, and strangulating of the brain stem. In order to relieve this pressure, surgeons made an incision at the base of Rhett's skull to the top of his neck and removed the bone around the brain stem and spinal cord.

When You Can't Forget

But for a few people, every moment they live is indelibly etched into memory. Wisconsin resident Brad Williams can recall almost any news event and anything he has experienced, including specific dates and even the weather. Another case is a woman who is known in medical literature as "AJ". She can answer obscure questions with mind-blowing accuracy -- such as the weather on a particular day several years in the past, or the details of a decades-old news item.

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