10 Outrageous Abilities From Puzzling Medical Conditions

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When you hear the words “medical condition,” it’s likely that you automatically think it’s bad news. If you are a hypochondriac, the very thought of those terrifying words makes you cringe. Although all medical conditions have some or many disadvantages, a few medical conditions actually grant some rather extreme abilities. We may find these abilities pretty extraordinary. However, the bad often outweighs the good when it comes to them.

10Super Acute Hearing

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Just imagine one of your so called “friends” is talking about you behind your back. You get frustrated at the sound of muttered whispers that you can’t seem to understand. Instead of asking them about what they said, you’d rather hear it for yourself, and you might even wish you had some sort of super hearing ability. Well, that sort of ability is exactly what Stephen Mabbutt once acquired.

Although you may instantly feel jealous, you really shouldn’t be. Stephen didn’t like his condition. Besides having the ability to hear a whispered conversation, Stephen’s acute hearing was so superb he could literally hear his eyeballs roll back and forth. Not only could he hear his eyeballs, Stephen could hear other various noises his body made throughout the day.

So, what medical condition causes this? A rare condition called hyperacusis. Although hyperacusis is a condition of its own, it is often caused by a syndrome or disease. Stephen had a syndrome called superior canal dehiscence. The syndrome is caused by missing bone over the top of the semicircular canal, which is an internal part of the ear. Symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, headaches, and (of course) hyperacusis.

Stephen became so aggravated with his condition that he sought out treatment and had surgery to repair his ear. He is now cured and hears just like us average human beings.

9The Ability To Never Gain Weight

What exactly would you do if you had the ability to never gain weight? With this sort of ability, you’d probably never have to pull yourself up to go to a hot and sweaty gym or do some vigorous home exercise. Seems a bit like a dream, doesn’t it?

Well, this particular ability isn’t exactly fictional. A young woman by the name of Lizzie Velasquez suffers from it. Although we all have desires to eat certain delicious foods, Lizzie has to eat every 15 minutes whether she is full or not. This is because she was born without adipose tissue and is constantly losing weight.

The condition of losing body fat rapidly and improperly distributing it is called lipodystrophy. It is caused by a variety of syndromes and diseases, but only a few of them can cause a severe case of it. Lizzie’s lipodystrophy is caused by Wiedemann Rautenstrauch syndrome, which is also known as neonatal progeroid syndrome. The syndrome not only causes severe weight loss and complete lack of adipose tissue, but it also causes growth delays and premature aging.

There isn’t a cure for Wiedemann Rautenstrauch syndrome. However, Lizzie has learned to deal with and manage her condition. She also plans on being the best motivational speaker that she can be.

8Massive Strength

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Do you consider yourself a bodybuilder because of your impressive strength and muscle? If not, chances are that you know someone who does. You probably wonder exactly how long it takes for someone to gain such strength. Did you know some people are actually born with immense strength?

At less than six months of age, a boy by the name of Liam Hoekstra already had the strength to exercise. It wasn’t like he was pushed or pressured to do it (after all, he was just a baby). He did it naturally. If his mother held him up, Liam would begin to do the “Iron Cross,” which is a move professionally done by highly trained gymnasts.

After being shocked by what they saw, Liam’s parents knew that something was very different about their child. Like any concerned pair of parents, they got him checked out by the doctor. As it turns out, Liam has a very rare condition that grants him super strength and fast muscle growth.

It’s called myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy. It’s caused by a low amount of myostatin which is a type of protein. The specific protein is supposed to make the body resistant to gaining an extreme amount of muscle. Having high levels of myostatin causes low muscle gain, and low levels of myostatin leads to high levels of muscle gain. Liam’s myostatin levels are considered very low due to the condition, resulting in massive muscle growth on his young body.

Many would probably assume that people with the condition may have some serious health concerns. However, the condition itself doesn’t seem to cause any serious medical problems. Overall, people with the condition have the same life span and mentality as healthy people without the condition.

7Super Stretchy Skin

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Photo credit: Piotr Dolzonek

If one of your favorite superheroes is Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, you’re probably already jittering with anticipation for this next outrageous ability. While it isn’t exactly a superhero quality, it is a very unique ability. Instead of having tight and ashy skin, some people have velvety skin that stretches to an extreme length. It’s one of the symptoms of a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It’s caused by poor production of collagen, which is the stuff that holds the body’s skin together.

Although it seems like something “cool” to have, sufferers of the syndrome have a large variety of grueling symptoms. Constant joint pain, fragile blood vessels, and skin tearing are just a few. A very common complication is the skin’s inability to hold stitches if the sufferer happens to need them. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. However, those with it manage the condition by taking pain medication, controlling their blood pressure, attending physical therapy, and knowing their skin’s limits.

6Extreme Photographic Memory

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We all know one person who brags about their “photographic memory,” which is also known as eidetic memory. Although their memory might be rather impressive, is their memory superb enough to draw an entire city after viewing it for just a few minutes?

A man by the name of Stephen Wiltshire truly has some extreme eidetic memory. After taking a 20-minute helicopter ride over New York City, Stephen began to work on his masterpiece—a panoramic, 20-foot wide drawing of the entire city. It only took him less than a week to fully complete. New York City isn’t the only thing Stephen has drawn. He also drew various parts of Rome and Hong Kong solely from memory.

So, what condition causes this sort of massive eidetic memory? A very rare condition called savant syndrome. Although it’s usually caused by autism, it could also be caused by various mental illnesses or some form of brain damage. Unfortunately, the sufferer often has a very low IQ and other mental disabilities. However, in return, the sufferer gains an extremely unique form of talent usually involving artistic or musical potential.

5Immunity To Freezing Cold Temperatures

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Photo credit: Aad Villerius

When it comes to the winter season, we all have to go through the hassle of bundling up in huge coats and sweaters. Well, almost all of us. There is a man out there who doesn’t need to wear big, goofy jackets and such. In fact, he can be satisfied by wearing just a basic T-shirt and jeans during the winter.

A man by the name of Wim Hof (pictured) is immune to freezing weather conditions, including those that are pretty dangerous to us regular human beings.

To prove his immunity, Wim decided to climb the infamous Mount Everest in its entirety. He only wore a pair of shorts during the quest. He shocked doctors after he finished and even claimed that the whole journey was “quite easy.”

You must be very curious and wonder what exact medical condition grants such an amazing ability. Scientists wonder that as well. Basically, the answer is unknown. Scientists are completely baffled by Wim’s capabilities and have no idea of how he’s able to survive in such extreme conditions. They think it may have something to do with how Wim’s brain works.

4The Ability to ‘Skin Write’

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Photo credit: R1carver

Everyone hates those immediate moments where you need quick access to a pen and some paper just to write down a little note that you know you’re going to forget soon. Well, people with dermatographia may not have this issue. Instead of using the typical pen and paper, dermatographia sufferers can simply use their skin and nails.

This is because the tiniest, lightest scratch against their skin causes it to swell and rise up. The risen scratch will usually last from 30–60 minutes. So, if they were to scratch a symbol on their arm, the skin will precisely rise up according to the design and will last a little while.

Ariana Page Russell does this with her skin. Instead of being down about the condition, Ariana takes advantage of it and creates various artistic designs on her skin. According to many people who have the condition, this form of art is called “skin writing.” Dermatographia is a condition of its own and isn’t caused by a more serious syndrome or disease. Other symptoms of the condition are itchiness, redness, and skin welts.

3Remembering Almost Every Single Thing

Speaking of writing notes, what if your memory was so extraordinary that you never had to write another note for the rest of your life? What if you could remember various details about a day that happened eight years go?

Similar to Stephen Wiltshire’s memory ability, a man by the name of Aurelien Hayman has an unbelievably strong memory. Aurelien has something called hyperthymesia which is also known as superior autobiographical memory.

Hyperthymesia gives one the ability to remember almost every single detail of their entire life. Whether something happened merely a week ago or over 10 years ago, people with the condition can remember various details perfectly and do the same for each day in between. Aurelien could remember details such as the weather of a day several years ago as well as what day of the week it was. Hyperthymesia isn’t caused by a disease or syndrome, as it is a condition of its own. It is not viewed as a damaging medical condition, and people who have it are generally considered healthy.

2The Ability To Stay Awake Nearly 24 Hours A Day

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How much more would you accomplish if you slept for only three hours a day? With less time for rest and more time to work, probably a lot. But what if you were only a toddler and rarely went to sleep?

When he was just three years old, Rhett Lamb slept very little each day. It wasn’t that Rhett didn’t need to sleep, he just hardly ever went to sleep. Basically, he lost the ability to fully rest but gained an ability to stay awake for nearly 24 hours. Rhett’s mother claimed that his attitude would get the best of him, and that he wasn’t as playful as the average three-year-old.

Rhett had a rare condition called chiari malformation. Basically, his skull wasn’t formed well enough to contain all of his brain. As a result, some of his brain was pushed out from the bottom of his skull and into his spinal canal.

Common symptoms of the condition are usually neck pain, dizziness, problems with balance, and speech problems. Oddly enough, gaining the ability to stay awake is not common for people with this condition. Fortunately, Rhett had surgery to fix his malformation and has been cured of his condition.

1Immunity To Pain

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If you could never feel pain for the rest of your life, what would you do? Would you try to start a career in boxing? Or would you do something more drastic, like extreme stunts and being flung around like a rag doll?

Well, life without pain wouldn’t exactly be so easy. You’d be unable to know if something’s wrong internally or externally unless you were bleeding or otherwise obviously injured. Believe it or not, there are some people out there who are born without the ability to feel any sort of pain and live this way throughout their entire lives.

Isaac Brown is a boy who was born that way. He doesn’t know what pain feels like. You can imagine how many broken bones, cuts, and bruises a boy might go through in childhood, but Isaac hasn’t felt a single one of them.

This is because he was born with a very rare condition called congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, which is abbreviated as CIPA. It is caused by mutations in the NTRK1 gene. The gene’s receptor is what transmits pain, temperature, and touch sensations throughout the body. Since people with CIPA have mutations in the gene, they feel no pain and have constant trouble controlling their body’s temperature because they are unable to sweat. People with CIPA manage their condition by staying cool and taking antibiotics to avoid infections.


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