The human body is capable of amazing things. It can also be an absolute nightmare. The diseases, maladies, and even natural processes that can occur to us sound like they were scripted by someone looking to make a gross-out horror movie.
In a case of truth being stranger than fiction, real examples, real cases, and real symptoms are sometimes too strange to be believed. Getting sick and treating our illnesses is a part of life, but these items make clear that not all afflictions are even in the same ballpark.
Some of these names we may have heard before, but when we break down the nitty-gritty processes behind them, the squeamish may want to step aside. From before we're even born, to getting a burn on the beach, to having brains eaten by lake-dwelling amoebae, these are some not-so-fun facts we learned about our bodies, diseases, and maladies that maybe we should have left unknown.
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A Teen In Arkansas Swatted A Gnat Out Of His Eye; Later He Was Rushed To The Hospital To Remove A Maggot
A 16-year-old boy in Arkansas swatted a gnat away from his eye and didn't give it a second thought. That is, until two weeks later, when he was partially blinded by a large dark dot in the center of his vision. It turns out that the gnat laid an egg in his eye, and now something was feeding off his retinal tissue. Doctors removed a burrowing maggot and saved his vision.
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A Man Could Hear But Was Unable To Move As His Wife And Doctor Discussed 'Pulling The Plug'
Sixty-year-old Richard Marsh suffered a stroke and was hooked to a ventilator in the intensive care unit. After observing him for several days in a persistent vegetative state, lacking consciousnesses and physical feeling, the doctors began to discuss the possibility of turning off his life support machine with his wife, Lili.
But Marsh wasn't in a coma. He had locked-in syndrome and was fully conscious. He could hear and feel everything going on, but could not speak or move. The next day, a doctor discovered that Marsh was able to communicate through blinking.
Marsh made a miraculous recovery and eventually regained 95% of his functionality. Locked-in syndrome affects around 1% of people who have had a stroke.
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A Brain-Eating Amoeba Lurks In Several US States
Brain-eating amoebae sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but they're actually real and are found in several US states. Naegleria fowleri lives in warm freshwater and multiplies rapidly when the water heats up in the summer. It's found in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers.
Normally, N. fowleri eats bacteria, but occasionally it finds itself in a human, usually by way of the nasal cavity from a rush of water when diving, having a head dunked, or using a neti pot with untreated tap water. In such cases, it devours brain matter. Most US cases occur in Texas and Florida.
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Scurvy Caused Old, Previously Healed Scars To Open Back Up
When we hear old tales from the sea or pirates' adventures, we often hear of people contracting a disease called scurvy. It was rampant on ships, as it was caused by chronic vitamin C deficiency brought on by lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. People took quite a while to make this discovery, however.
What did scurvy look like? It was rather gross. The disease affects the body's ability to produce collagen, so structures like cartilage and tissue start to break down. Bones that had broken and healed re-broke, and scars that had healed reopened. Bleeding gums and loose teeth also occurred.