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Unexplained Illnesses and Medical Mysteries : Exploring Fascinating Medical Conditions

The world of medical science has always remained fascinating because of its significant role in treating multiple illnesses and also because of the continuous development in the field. Several diseases can be cured with the doctor’s prescription and prescribed treatment procedures. However, modern science still struggles in understanding certain rare and complex cases. And the best thing about these rare and unexplained illnesses is that they are quite interesting to explore and have been challenging scientists and doctors to understand them better. Maybe it is about the mermaid syndrome, or the tree man, or anything else, but these rare and unexplained illnesses still need medical explanations. Apart from these unexplained illnesses, there are also certain other medical mysteries, which scientists could not solve to date.

Let us read further and know about the fascinating world of medical mysteries and unexplained illnesses.

Unexplained Illnesses and Medical Mysteries : Exploring Fascinating Medical Conditions

Unexplained Illnesses and Medical Mysteries: Exploring Fascinating Medical Conditions

What Is the Medical Mystery Of Spontaneous Healing?

Science and the world of medicine have come a long way in understanding several conditions and phenomena. However, we still lag in understanding or explaining a phenomenon known as ‘spontaneous healing”.

A tumor going away overnight, a bedridden patient suddenly running laps around the village without taking a single pill, or an incurable disease suddenly leaves no trace. There are many such cases of spontaneous healing. Researchers and scientists are working on finding out the secrets behind these phenomena. However, till now this has remained one of the most fascinating medical mysteries.

Why Do We Have Fingerprints?

What could be the secret behind having fingerprints? We used to believe that fingerprints are used for gripping things. However, it turns out that fingerprints cause less surface area contact than perfectly smooth surfaces. It means less friction, which means less efficient gripping. Now, this has been challenging for many scientists to find out the utility of fingerprints.

What Is This Mysterious Mermaid Syndrome?

Sirenomelia, also known as “mermaid syndrome” is a birth defect that completely or partially fuses the legs just like how a mermaid looks. Most newborns do not live long with this condition, however, some children like Shiloh Pepin could live until she was ten,(1) and Tiffany Yorks lived till she was 27 years of age.(2) Tiffany Yorks is the oldest known survivor of mermaid syndrome.

This condition has remained quite a mystery till now since most cases randomly occur with no reason. Researchers believe environmental factors or a new mutation might play a major role in the development of mermaid syndrome.

Water Allergies: Can Anyone Be Allergic To Water?

Another unexplained illness is Aquagenic urticarial or water allergies. Fewer than a hundred people across the globe have been diagnosed with this rare condition where they break out in rashes or hives every time they are exposed to water.(3)

However, an underlying cause for this condition has been found. Certain scientific theories suggest that hives or rashes are caused by an allergen found in water or due to an interaction between the water and a substance found in or on the skin that builds toxic material, resulting in hives. Effective treatment for this unexplained illness is yet to come. So, for the time being, it has remained a medical mystery.

The Girl Who Never Aged: Have You Heard Of Syndrome X?

Brooke Greenberg was a girl who never aged. Does it sound weird? But it is true. Brooke Greenberg who died at 20 years of age in 2013 never looked like a 20-year-old girl. Her body stopped developing when she was just five years old. The only body parts that grew in her were her nails and hair.

Though numerous tests and DNA studies were conducted, none of them could find out the reason associated with this condition. Doctors could not find any abnormality in her genes, nor did her parents have any medical history of abnormal development.

Scientists referred to her condition as Syndrome X, and this unusual condition remained unexplained by medical science.

Chimeric People: How Can Someone Be A Mix Of Two Individuals?

Chimeric people are those who are a mix of two individuals. In one case, it turned out that a mother was a chimera (a mix of two people). She was the composite of two non-identical twins that were fused in the womb of her mother.

There are a few other people around the world who are considered as chimeric people. It is still unclear how common chimeras are, and with the rise of genetic testing and fertility treatments, more chimeras are being created and discovered.

The Medical Mystery of Putrid Finger

A 1996 issue published in the medical journal “The Lancet” mentioned a distressing case study.(4) A 29-year-old man had pricked his finger on a chicken bone, five years back which left him with an infection, which made the finger smell terrible. This smell is extremely intolerable.

The cause of this infection could not be identified, and no antibiotics could either treat the condition. However, spontaneously the patient’s infection cleared up and he no longer smelled putrid. But, the cause remains a mystery in medical science.

The Unexplained Illness of Foreign Accent Syndrome

You could be suffering from foreign accent syndrome if you wake up talking with a strong Jamaican accent, even though you have never heard a Jamaican accent before.(5)

A notable case of this syndrome dates from 1941 when a woman from Norway was ostracised after she was injured during an air raid and started talking with a German accent. Though earlier this syndrome was regarded as a psychological disorder, now it is believed to be a neurological one and comes when an injury or stroke damages the part of the brain that is associated with speech.

However, the real mystery is how people begin talking with an accent they have never been exposed to. Recently, scientists have come up with an explanation that this “foreignness” might be due to the listener struggling to interpret the change in the affected person’s speech patterns.

Morgellons Diseases and The Mystery Behind It

Another unexplained illness is Morgellons disease. The affected person starts growing fibers out of itchy lesions, accompanied by a crawling sensation, and biting, just like they are being attacked by a parasite.

Many people around the globe report these unpleasant symptoms and claim that they are suffering from this disease. However, the cause is yet unknown.

The Tree Man: Is There Any Truth Behind It?

Have you heard of the tree man? Dede, a man from West Java, Indonesia is considered to be the tree man because he appears to be half tree and half man. His feet and hands resemble branches of a tree.

Fortunately, the cause of this disease in Dede has been solved recently. The primary cause is a rare immune deficiency, which allows the human papillomavirus (causing warts) to rampage uncontrollably.(6)

The Unexplained Illness of Stiff Person Syndrome

Stiff person syndrome (SPS) is a rare progressive syndrome that causes people to experience extreme stiffness, and painful spasms in their muscles.(7) At times, these muscle spams are so strong that they can cause fractures in the bones.

When the central nervous system (CNS), particularly the spinal cord and brain has decreased inhibition, it can result in an increase in the person’s muscle activity, which can cause Stiff person syndrome.

It is thought that this syndrome might have an autoimmune component and as per research, it has been found that this could occur when the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord mistakenly. However, scientists are yet to understand everything about SPS.

The Boy Who Doesn’t Feel Hungry: One Of The Biggest Medical Mysteries

In October 2013, Landon Jones who was a 12-year-old boy from Lowa, woke up suddenly without an appetite or thirst.(8)

In a year the boy came down from 104 pounds to 68 pounds. Doctors tried multiple things, from several brain scans, and psychiatric evaluations, to medical evaluations for eating disorders or digestive issues, however, they found nothing. Till now this has remained one of the biggest medical mysteries that is yet to be resolved.

Pica: How Can Someone Feel Like Eating Non-Food Substances?

Pica is a condition where the affected persons have an insatiable urge to eat non-food substances like paper, dirt, clay, and glue. Though it is thought to be associated with mineral deficiency, doctors and health experts have no real cause or cure for this peculiar disorder. Thus, this also remains one of the unexplained illnesses to date.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and The Mystery Behind It

The Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is another unexplained and rare condition. Persons suffering from this condition go through a rapid appearance of aging beginning in their childhood. This illness occurs in one in four million people(9) with more than 131 cases being reported globally since 1886.(10)

Some of the common symptoms of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome are aged-looking skin, brittle and fragile bones, alopecia or hair loss, joint abnormalities, kidney failure, loss of eyesight, and loss of fat under the skin.

There is no specific cure for this condition. However, in November 2020, the FDA approved Zokinvy (Lonafarnib), a drug that can benefit in reducing the risk of death due to Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.(11)

Stoneman Syndrome: The Unsolved Mystery!

The Stoneman Syndrome or Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is a rare unexplained illness wherein the connective tissues of the patient’s body slowly turn into bones.

This condition affects 1 in 2 million people and is primarily caused by a gene mutation.(12) Stoneman syndrome generally begins from the shoulders and neck, making its way to the legs. In this conditional, a second bone begins growing over the first in a process called heterotopic ossification (HO). A person with this condition can lose mobility even after a minor accident.

Alice In Wonderland Syndrome: No It Is Beyond Just The Story!

Todd’s Syndrome or Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a neurological syndrome. This condition generally presents migraines that can distort an individual’s body image, including the size of their hands, feet, and head. Apart from this, patients with this syndrome can also experience hallucinations and the feeling of time passing either quickly or slowly. Unfortunately, there is no effective and proven treatment for the condition yet.

Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)

Jill Price is quite extraordinary in her memory. If you give her a date, she can easily tell you what day of the week it fell on and what did she do that particular day. In 2006, it was reported that Price was the first known case of highly superior autobiographical memory (USAM). Since then, more children and adults have been identified with HSAM.

Individuals with highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) can recall anything from their memories in seconds. The real mystery of why such people have this brainpower is still unknown. However, brain images from people with highly superior autobiographical memory have shown that certain parts of their brain structure are different from those who have a normal memory.


Every one of us has suffered from some kind of disease at different times. However, many of these diseases are avoidable and can also be treated with proper medical attention. But, the unexplained illnesses that we talked about above are still some of the biggest medical mysteries that need to be resolved. Though there are many more unexplained diseases that are still some of the weirdest and most mysterious ones, these medical conditions are for real. Let us hope that medical science brings out some of these mysteries resolved in recent future.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 20, 2023

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