Top 10 Weird and Rare Syndromes

5. Locked-in Syndrome


Remember the movie “Awake”? A patient was totally aware of their surroundings while being operated on and had no way of letting the surgeons know. Number five will leave you paralyzed, literally. 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. In 2008, Esquire magazine documented his story. To help him communicate, doctors worked with Erik to create a communication system using a computer, through brain implants, that reads electronic signals when Erik thinks of certain words or sounds. Only able to say short, basic words, doctors believe Erik will eventually be able to communicate better.

visit this page for a more in depth view of the process

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


Next time you take a vacation, you might want to reconsider making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem after reading this. 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. Go figure.

2. Lazarus Syndrome


And the dead shall rise! You might want to make a note in your living will that the doctor should wait five or ten minutes before pronouncing you dead. Who knows. You may just have this disorder. 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. Dr. Strangelove Syndrome – Alien hand


If you ever watch the first Evil Dead or Dr. Strangelove movie, you will understand this one. 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. What was that saying about the one hand knowing what the other is doing?

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