medical oddities

Medical Oddities (The Most Unbelievable Stories In History)

We are going to share some of the most bizarre medical oddities you will not believe. Absolutely incredible oddities seen in the medical field. From a pregnant man to teeth growing out of a brain, these stories will surely shock you. If you think you’ve seen it all, wait till you see this. Humans are susceptible to many conditions, but these are extremely rare.

Doctors are even shocked by some of these abnormal medical conditions seen in humans.  In fact, one of our topics will cover a woman with a condition so rare and bizarre, physicians thought she was making it all up. However, after visual observance and multiple tests, they finally believed she really was suffering with a condition they didn’t even know existed.

Incredible & Horrible Abnormalities Around The World

Severe Signs Of Traumatic Deformity: The Shanidar Skull Of Neanderthal

Shanidar Skull

Shanidar Skull” by James Gordon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Our first medical oddity is a deformed skull of an elderly Neanderthal man. He was found in a cave called the Shanidar Cave. The man is one of the two famous skeletons found and is known as Shanidar 1 or ‘Nandy.’ The cave is an archaelogical site in the valley of the Great Zab. He was excavated by Ralph Solecki (and team) between 1957-1961.

Nandy is said to be between the ages of 40 and 50. For a Neanderthal, this age is unbelievably old. It is equivalent to an 80 year old of today. He is said to have suffered a violent blow to the left side of his face. He acquired a crushing fracture to his left orbit. The damage likely left him partially or completely blind in one eye. He also suffered a damaged and fractured right arm. Although his right arm healed, it caused the loss of his lower hand and arm. The injury also caused paralysis down his right side. This lead to deformities in his lower foot and legs. The deformities would have caused him to walk with a painful limp.

What is so strange about this man, is that despite all of his serious injuries he acquired before his death, he was still able to heal in many areas. Also, his injuries did not cause his death. Without any of the medical care we have today, not only was he able to heal in many areas, but was also able to live a very unusually long life with just the care from his social group. Nandy’s skeleton age is dated between 45,000 and 35,000 years old.

Cherubism: A Rare Genetic Disorder

Cherubism

Cherubism” by Li CY, Yu SF is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cherubism is a very rare and painless genetic disorder (seen mostly in males) causing prominence in the lower portion of the mandible. It also causes premature loss of primary teeth. The loss of bone in the mandible (lower jaw) is what causes the unusual appearance. The body replaces the bone loss with excessive amounts of fibrous tissue. Patients that suffer with this rare disorder not only experience severe emotional trauma, but also experience interference with normal jaw motion and speech.

Cherubism is believed to be a rare genetic defect that results from a mutation of the SH3BP2 (protein associated with Cherubism) gene from chromosome 4. The disorder is so rare that approximately 200 cases have been reported by medical journals. Fortunately, in most cases, the condition will eventually fade with age.

Treatment: Treatment for Cherubism is individually determined. With moderate cases, they are watched until they either subside or progress to severity. With the severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the cysts and fibrous growth of both the mandible and maxilla. Orthodontic treatment is also a usual requirement to help prevent severe dental problems.

Cherubism: Expanded Mandible Of 10-Year-Old Boy

The image above is Cherubism disorder found in a 10-year-old boy. The high-quality image shows the expanded mandible, along with the extremely abnormal bone texture.

Patau Syndrome

Patauface

Patauface” by Chan A et al is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Patau syndrome is a rare genetic disorder caused by an abnormal chromosome. Some or all of the body’s cells contain extra genetic material from chromosome 13. The extra material interferes with normal development. Rarely, some of the body’s cells have an extra copy. These rare cases are called mosaic Patau.

The syndrome is extremely rare and is the most severe of the viale autosomal trisomies. The survival rate is less than 3 days. There are various features and symptoms one can have with Patau syndrome such as facial clefting, flexion of the fingers, polydactyly, heart defects and severe mental deficiency. It can also cause abnormal facial features which includes closely spaced eyes and a small-sized head.

Treatment: The syndrome is planned on a case-by-case basis and depends on the patient’s individual circumstances. Although with most severe cases, the child will live only a few days or weeks, surgery may be required to repair heart defects.

Surgery may also be required to repair a cleft lip or palate. Speech, physical and occupational therapy is also used to help patients reach their full developmental potential. Unfortunately, over 80% of children suffering with Patau syndrome will die within their first year of life.

The image above shows a male infant with Patau syndrome. You can clearly see alobar holoprosencephaly with cyclopia. You can also see the sloping forehead and abnormally formed nose located above the eye.

Polydactyly

Polydactyly is a abnormal congenital condition associated with various mutations. A person with polydactyly has more than five fingers per hand or more than five toes per foot. This anomaly is also found in dogs and cats. The extra digit is usually a smaller piece of soft tissue that will occasionally contain bone without joints.

Rarely, the extra digit is complete and fully functional. The most common extra digit is found on the little finger (side of the hand). Polydactyly is less often seen on the thumb and rarely within the three middle digits. Most commonly, the extra digit is an abnormal fork in an existing digit. Rarely, it may originate at the wrist just like a normal digit.

Treatment: Although polydactyly usually doesn’t interfere with hand functionality, for social reasons, surgery can help correct it.

What Is The Condition Of Having Fewer Fingers Or Toes?

The opposite of polydactyly is called oligodactyly  (the presence of fewer than five fingers per hand or toes per foot).

What Is The World Record For The Most Digits On Human Hands And Feet?

Currently, Akshat Saxena is from Uttar Pradesh, India and holds the world record for the highest number of digits. He has 7 digits on each hand and 10 digits on each foot, giving him an amazing total of 34 digits.

Penis Tattoo Causes Man To Have A Permanent Erection

permanent erection

A young Iranian man wanted nothing more than a couple of tattoos on his penis. One was a Persian phrase “borow be salaamat,” meaning “good luck with your journeys.” He also got the letter M on his penis, which is the first letter of his girlfriend’s first name. Unfortunately, he got a lot more than just two tattoos. The man now lives with a permanent erection.

For eight days after he got his tattoos, the man was in extreme pain. Then, for three straight months, he stayed semi-erect. After many tests to determine the cause of his condition, doctors came to the conclusion that it was likely the tattoo. They suggested that the needle could have been inserted too deeply.

According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, this is the first case of a tattoo causing a never-ending erection. The name for this medical condition is priapism. It causes a penis to remain erect for more than 4 hours despite the lack of sexual stimulation.

Here are the three types of priapism:

  • Ischemic (low-flow)
  • Nonischemic (high-flow)
  • Recurrent ischemic (intermittent)

In this particular case, the Iranian man was diagnosed with a less common type of priapism called nonischemic priapism. Since the blood enters the penis faster than it can go out, the condition causes the entire penis to stay somewhat hard. Luckily for the man, nonischemic priapism is generally not painful.

Did The Man Receive Any Treatment For His Condition?

To drain excess blood in the penis, doctors recommended a shunt procedure. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

Since the man does not feel pain and can still have sexual intercourse, he has declined further treatment. Interestingly, despite living with his rare condition, he does not regret getting the tattoos.

Can A Women Suffer From Priapism?

Priapism in females is called clitoral priapism (or clitorism). With only a few reported cases, it is much rarer than priapism in men. The condition is associated with persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD). Without sexual stimulation, the woman will have a continued, and painful erection of the clitoris that could last from minutes to days.

The Rise Of The Medical Term “Priapism”

Priapus Fresco

This is an image of a god named “Priapus.” In Greek mythology, he was said to be a minor rustic fertility god, a protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and oddly — male genitalia. His massive and permanent erection is what gave rise to the term priapism.

Thomas Beatie: The Pregnant Man

Thomas Beatie

Thomas Beatie” by Frankie Fouganthin is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Thomas Trace Beatie is the first and only man to successfully become pregnant and deliver healthy babies. In 2007, he was known as “The Pregnant Man” after becoming pregnant via artificial insemination.

Beatie had a gender reassignment surgery back in 2002 where he received chest reconstruction. Due to his strong desire to have a child, he left his reproductive organs intact. Since his wife was infertile, he chose to do artificial insemination using donated sperm. Before his marriage, he legally changed his name and sex marker from female to male. This was changed on all of his state and federal documents which includes his birth certificate, driver’s license, passport and social security index.

He then got legally married to Nancy Gillespie in February of 2003. The couple then moved to Oregon in 2005 where they purchased homes together as husband and wife. From 2008 to 2010, Beatie gave birth to all three of his kids. After completing his mission of having children, he chose to have surgery on his lower body.

In 2012, Beatie had a surgical procedure called a Ring Metoidioplasty. The procedure included a transfer of tissue, urethral construction and lengthening to create a penis that’s capable of functioning. He is considering making his next surgery a hysterectomy.

Although Beatie is currently divorced, the courts allow equal custody and rights of the children. In Oregon, Beatie is listed as “father” and Nancy is listed as “mother” on all birth certificates. He now lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his girlfriend and all three children.

As Close As It Gets

Although Beatie was able to successfully have children, as far as a male pregnancy goes, this is as close as it’s going to get. Before his surgical removal involving his lower body, all of his reproductive organs were intact. This allowed him to become pregnant and have children.

Despite all of the hoaxes going around the Internet, there has never been a male to become pregnant, much less carry and deliver a baby. According to pioneer Robert Winston, it is possible for a man to become pregnant by having an embryo implanted in a man’s abdomen.

The ectopic implantation of the embryo along the abdominal wall is said to result in placenta growth. The placenta would be attached to an internal organ such as the bowel. Delivery would be done by Caesarean section. However, the procedure would be extremely dangerous. Due to the potential for ectopic pregnancy, it can potentially kill the host. So although a male pregnancy is hypothetically plausible, it has never been attempted.

Despite all of the hoaxes, genuine experiments have never been reported. So we know it is possible for male pregnancy to occur, but what are the odds that the host and baby will actually survive?

Bizarre Brain Tumor With Teeth


In an extremely rare tumor case, a 4-month-old baby boy had a tumor removed from his brain. What makes this case so weird is that as a result of the tumor, teeth were forming in his brain. The tumor is called a Cystic Craniopharyngioma. It is said to develop from the same cells that are required to make teeth grow.

Although teeth have been found in the brains of humans in the past, it was only in teratoma tumors. These types of tumors contain all three tissue types that are found in early-stage of human embryos. However, craniopharyngiomas have just one layer of tissue. The bizarre tumor case of the boy is proof that craniopharyngiomas develop from cells that make teeth.

The tumor had destroyed the boy’s normal connections in the brain that would allow vital hormones to be released. Although the child survived this bizarre tumor, he is required to receive hormone treatments for the rest of his life to replace these hormones. Doctors say that if the child had the tumor before the modern surgical era, he would have not survived.

Hairy Eyeball

Hairy Eyeball

Screenshot credit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2013

Since birth, a young Iranian man was living with a rare type tumor on his eye just below his pupil. Not only did it grow to nearly a quarter of an inch in diameter, but it also sprouted several hairs.

The tumor caused mild discomfort, as well as some vision loss in the man’s eye. With surgical intervention, the man’s tumor was successfully removed.

The Type Of Tumor That Caused A Hairy Eyeball

The tumor that grew on the Iranian man’s eye is called a limbal dermoid. They are defined as benign congenital tumors that are superficial and contain tissue that is normally found in another part of the body.

Although it is common for the tumor to contain hair follicles, they can also contain other tissues such as cartilage, neurologic tissue, sweat glands, muscle, bone, vascular structures and even teeth. Since they typically do not cover the center of the cornea, they usually do not cause serious problems with vision.
Here is a video showing the excision of a limbal dermoid. 

A Pair Of Fish Jaws In The Eye

fish bone in the eyeball

Screenshot credit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2015

In 2015, a 52-year-old man took a swim at a beach on the Red Sea. During his swim, he was not alone. The man collided wit a school of fish, which lead to the development of a swollen and droopy eyelid. Even after several weeks rolled by, his eyelid would not heal.

Doctors discovered he had a granuloma on his eyelid (a small area of inflammation in tissue). In order to correct the issue, surgery was recommended. During the operation to remove the granuloma, surgeons also found something unexpected. They also found and removed “two tubular structures.”

To determine exactly what the tubular structures were, a biologist weighed in. They revealed that the foreign objects were actually the jawbones of a halfbeak fish. Doctors believe the jaw bones caused the muscles that control the man’s eyelid to immobilize, which caused his eyelid to droop. Within a few months after surgery, he fully recovered. The man was able to move his eye and eyelid just like he did before the day he went and took a swim in the Red Sea.

Star In The Eye

Star In The Eye

Screenshot credit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2013

A 55-year-old man from Austria was punched in his eye. A few months later, his vision worsened and lead him to seek medical attention. Little did he know that not only would he be told he developed a cataract, but a cataract that was shaped like a star. Cataracts usually appear white or yellowish, and look similar to a vaguely shaped cloud.

It is not uncommon for a punch or the strike of a ball to cause a cataract. However, to look like a nearly perfectly shaped star is something you just don’t hear about. Fortunately, the man was able to get a modern cataract surgery called “phacoemulsification.” The procedure involves the use of an ultrasonic device to break up and then remove the opaque part of the lens. Then, the lens is replaced with an artificial lens.

Screenshot of normal cataract next to a star-shaped cataract that belonged to the man from Austria.

cataract vs unusual cataract

Woman Who Cries And Sweats Blood


A 19-year-old woman by the name of Delfina Cedeno cries and sweats blood. She suffers from a rare condition that doctors had never heard of. In fact, until she cried blood right in front of them, they finally believed her. In order to diagnose her, doctors had to determine if the red liquid was really blood. After many tests, she eventually needed a blood transfusion.

The whole ordeal left Delfina tired and extremely depressed. People would avoid her in fear that she was contagious. They also laughed at her, which eventually lead her to an attempted suicide. Luckily, she was rushed to the hospital and survived her attempt.

After four long years and many different studies, doctors had finally made a breakthrough. They determined she is suffering with at rare condition called Hematidrosis.

Delfina has 20 times the level of adrenaline levels of a normal person. So when she has high stress or anxiety, her blood pressure rises servery, causing her to sweat blood. Fortunately, she has been given medication that has helped control her bleeding. Beta blockers can significantly reduce the frequency of spontaneous blood oozing. Today, Delfina is trying to live a normal life. She is very happy with her boyfriend that fully looks past her condition.

Historical References For Sweating Blood

Despite the extreme rarity of sweating blood, there has been several historical references describing it. For example, Leonardo da Vinci had once descried a soldier who sweated blood before his battle. Also, there were descriptions in the Bible of Jesus sweating blood.

A List Of Weird Allergies


Above is a video about 5 very weird allergies. Below we will discuss one of the five most bizarre allergies.  The water allergy will definitely shock you.

Water Allergy

water allergy

People who suffer from this allergy get red and itchy rashes just from coming into contact with water (regardless of its temperature). This includes a quick shower, rain water and even sweat. With severe cases, patients are not even able to drink water. If they do, their throat can swell. What makes this even more bizarre is that people suffer with this allergy when the human body is approximately 60% water.

The condition of being allergic to water is extremely rare. Only around 40 people worldwide have been diagnosed. Doctors are puzzled to its actual cause, but think elevated histamine levels may be a factor.

So How Do People Survive And Bathe With A Water Allergy?

A woman by the name of Michaela Dutton developed a rare water allergy after birth. She says she drinks Diet Coke soda just to survive. Even though the soda contains carbonated water, her body is able to tolerate it. She bathes in water, but very quickly and carefully. This is because even brief water contact can cause a painful rash that can last hours.

For information on more unusual allergies, visit our interesting post called 5 Weird Allergies.

Our featured image shows a man who lived in the late 1800’s. According to various sources on the Web, he suffered from tuberous leprosy. The photograph was extracted from Leprosy In Its Clinical &Pathological Aspects by Hansen & Looft, John Wright and Co, Bristol, 1895, Plate III.

For another bizarre medical story, read: Lina Medina: The Youngest Mother In Medical History

Conclusion

We definitely live in a weird world filled with many strange stories and unsolved mysteries in medicine. Luckily, there are fantastic physicians that can help solve many challenges that come their way. With persistence and experience, more cases will be solved and fully understood.

Have you heard of any of these extremely rare medical oddities? Are there other conditions not commonly known that you are aware of? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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About Joseph Caltabiano

Joseph Caltabiano is a blogger, oddities lover and a former surgical technologist. He left the field of surgical technology to pursue a career in blogging and internet marketing. As clearly shown in his posts, Joseph is very passionate about unusual topics. His two most favorite topics are medical and weird science.