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Top 10 Terrifying Diseases Unknown To Society

Sunday, August 31, 2014 11:12
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As we all know the world can be a very frightening place to live in. Wars, systematic killings, natural disasters, animal bites and extreme corporate greed all make existing on this planet that we all call home very challenging and scary. But there’s another threat that human beings have faced since the dawn of human civilization: diseases. This is a list of diseases that are so bizarre (and creepy) that one would think that they have been taken off the pages of Hollywood moviescripts. There are so many mysteries in the world, and these are just some of them.


10. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Disorder

No, this isn’t a made up entry. This is a very real – and very bizarre – story of a very unfortunate group of 19th century lumberjacks (all of French Canadian descent) from the state of Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec. This rare disorder is characterized by an extreme reaction (the sufferer feels startled by the slightest noise or sight). Other odd behaviour includes displaying reflexive reactions, yelling and imitating the movements of other people. Its etiology is still unknown, so there’s still quite a lot of speculation about its origins and what causes it. Because of the shared heritage of these lumberjacks, it has been suggested that a particular environment or situation causes an extreme response that is heavily influenced by cultural factors.

It was a pioneering neurologist, Civil War veteran and Yale graduate (George Miller Beard) who first investigated the disease back in the late 1870s. (He’s also the guy who argued that Charles Guiteau, President James Garfield’s assassin, should be found not guilty because of insanity.) Beard left the wooded areas of Maine after he conducted his research with the belief that these were involuntary reactions.


9. Porphyria

This isn’t just one disease but instead a group of rare disorders, usually inherited. These disorders mostly affect human skin and the nervous system. A porphyria sufferer’s cells are unable to alter body chemicals. This inability can cause a number of illnesses, including abdominal pain. Different types of porphyria have different symptoms and their severity can also vary from person to person. There are some sufferers who become very sensitive to sunlight, even to the point of getting blisters and scarring.

There are a number of environmental factors that can trigger porphyria, such as: stress, smoking, exposure to sunlight, alcohol, dieting and fasting and the use of certain drugs. One of the more strange symptoms of porphyria is the “vampire teeth” that some sufferers have. And if you add the fact that some porphyria sufferers can’t be under the sun for too long, there will inevitably be some misguided people who would get the wrong idea about porphyria and porphyria sufferers.


8. Marburg Virus

This is another seriously strange and scary disease that first emerged, or spotted, in the 1960s, specifically in Belgrade and in the German cities of Frankfurt and Marburg, its namesake. Some workers in those cities were exposed to infected monkeys from Africa. After this outbreak, thevirus wasn’t seen or heard about for nearly a decade; its ugly head surfaced again in South Africa in the mid 1970s. Even though this is a rare pathogen, it has a capacity to cause a major outbreak with a high fatality rate. The first symptoms are severe headaches quickly followed by a strong sense of malaise.

The transmission of the disease takes place through bodily fluids as well as infected body tissue. And the incubation period is usually three to nine days. The sufferer sustains intense pain, mainly from the haemorrhaging. The disease’s symptoms have been compared to those of typhoid and malaria, but the Marburg virus is closest to Ebola strains, taxonomically speaking.


7. Nodding Disease

The name says it all – well, maybe not everything. Little is known about nodding disease which was first detected in Sudan in the 1960s. The illness is characterized by (yes, you guessed it) the repeated nodding of the head, and has now spread out to other areas of Eastern Africa. For some reason, the disease only affects children, mostly 5 – 15-year-olds. It is now believed that the disease is triggered by cold temperatures or eating, as well as cognitive impairment. Another symptom is the stunted growth of the sufferers; this damage is, sadly, permanent. Because of this physical and neurological retardation, performing simple tasks becomes a nightmare for the young sufferers.

The sufferers are also subjected to seizures of different degrees, brought about by different things. Even the presentation of food can cause a rapid and repetitive nodding of the head. The condition can become so severe and tragic that some sufferers stop recognizing their own parents. Very sad indeed.



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