List O’ Ten Bizarre Human Behaviour Syndromes

People can be weird enough on their own, but really in some cases, they just can’t help themselves.

10. Progeria Syndrome

In a society focused on retaining their youth by plastic surgery and anti-aging creams, you wouldn’t want to wish this on them. An extremely rare genetic affliction, progeria is a condition of premature aging. Occurring in about one in eight million, most do not live beyond the age of thirteen. Some of the signs and symptoms are small fragile bodies, wrinkled skin, and heart disease.

9. Werewolf Syndrome – Hypertrichosis

Part of many circus sideshows, the wolfman has an overabundance of hair. Hair growth is accelerated all over the body in most cases. In others, it only shows up in certain areas. Julia Pastrana spent her life as the bearded lady in the circus. Her condition was so severe that she even grew hair on the palms of her hands.

8. Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome

A rare inherited disorder created by the lack of certain enzymes, it causes a build-up of uric acid. Although it causes severe gout and kidney disorders, self-mutilation is the disorder’s most striking feature. At the age of two or three years old, the children might start biting their own fingers and lips, moving on to head banging, vomiting, spitting, even eating their own feces. Motor function can be so severely affected that the individual may never learn to walk and will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.

7. Cotard’s Syndrome

Cotard’s syndrome is the belief that you are truly dead, no longer exist, are rotting away, and have lost all your internal organs. It can even include the idea that you are immortal, although cases like this are rare. This syndrome is named after Jules Cotard. Jules describes a patient during a lecture who denied the existence of God, the Devil, several parts of her body, and even her need to eat. This patient later believed she was eternally damned (since she didn’t believe in the Devil, go figure) and could no longer die a natural death. What did she really die of? Starvation.

6. Foreign Accent Syndrome

Ever spent the day around someone with an accent and later find yourself talking like them? Imagine waking up from a severe head injury and finding you do it all the time. Foreign accent syndrome is just that. You start talking with what appears to be a foreign accent. Not to be confused with speaking another language entirely. Doctors believe this comes from a severe brain injury or stroke and causes the person to seem to talk with a foreign accent. It makes the person speak their own language with a dialectical or foreign accent. Usually the person who is afflicted with this condition finds it easier to use the accent differences throughout their everyday speech rather than struggle between their natural accent and the foreign one.

5. Locked-in Syndrome

Locked-in syndrome is a body paralysis where you can only move your eyes. Unable to move, you are still able to think, hear, and see what goes on around you. The cause of this disorder is still uncertain. Some speculations of the causes vary from traumatic brain injuries, medication overdoses, a stroke, or brain hemorrhage.

Erik Ramsey suffered a stroke after a car accident when he was only 16 years old. This is believed to have caused him to have Locked-in Syndrome.

4. Proteus Syndrome

Named after the Greek sea god, Proteus, even he would not want this condition. Proteus syndrome causes an overgrowth of skin, fatty tissues, blood, bones, and muscle tissue. It is a progressive illness so children may not show any symptoms of this condition at birth.

This extremely rare disorder would have gone further unnoticed where it not for the “Elephant Man” himself, Joseph Merrick. He earned this title by the huge facial tumors and gray tint to his skin. All of his body was affected except for his left arm and genitals. Merrick later died in his sleep from a dislocated neck due to the sheer weight of his head.

3. Jerusalem Syndrome

This mental disorder involves the presence of obsessive ideas, experiences or delusions that are religiously based, triggered by a trip through Jerusalem. Such delusions may be that the affected person believes himself to be an important religious figure, a need to be clean and pure by taking several baths and showers, compulsive clipping of finger and toe nails, and the need to shout Bible verses and psalms.

There are several reported cases of mentally balanced individuals that turn psychotic while in Jerusalem. It is characterized by an intense religious theme and has been known to affect not only Jews, but also Christians and Muslims of many different backgrounds. Such affected individuals will recover after being removed from Jerusalem.

2. Lazarus Syndrome

Lazarus Syndrome is the spontaneous start of circulation after unsuccessful attempts at CPR. Although rare and the causes are pretty much unknown, the body restarts by itself, reviving the person.

There have been a few documented cases of this disorder. A 61-year-old Delaware woman was pronounced dead and sent to the morgue after repeated attempts to resuscitate her. The morgue attendant later found her alive and breathing. In the UK, a 27-year old man had died of from an overdose of heroin and ecstasy. After trying to resuscitate the man for over 20 minutes, he was declared dead by the doctors. After about a minute, the nurse noticed the man’s heart started beating and they successfully helped to revived him. The man fully recovered.

One of the theories for explaining this rare phenomenon is the buildup of pressure in the chest due to resuscitation efforts followed by relaxation and expansion when the CPR stops. This expansion is thought to trigger the heart’s electrical impulses and thus restarting heartbeat.

1. Alien Hand Syndrome

This disorder is the belief that your hand has a mind of its own, literally. Also called the Alien hand syndrome, the patient believes his hand moves and does things completely on its own, with no regard to command of the brain. It is believed that the “alien hand” will perform such actions as manipulating tools, undoing buttons, and removing clothes. The person is often unaware of the activities of his hand until it is brought to his attention.

Considered to be an unusual neurological disorder, it is believe to occur when the two hemispheres of the brain are separated as in cases of epilepsy or sometimes occurs during brain surgeries, strokes, or infections. The wayward hand is often given a name and considered to be a separate entity. At times, the actions between the two hands seem to go against each other. One example of this is a patient who attempted to smoke a cigarette. His “good” hand placed a cigarette in his mouth, only to have his “evil” hand quickly remove it and throw it away.

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