By Gardy Chacha
It is one of the rarest conditions in the world, affecting about a hundred individuals in the whole planet. Werewolf syndrome is a colloquial term attached to ancient legends that mention the growth of hair by men at the appearance of the new moon.
Scientifically, it is referred to as Hypertrichosis, which is a blanket medical term that means excessive body hair, especially on parts that naturally have ‘no hair’ or body hair that is unwanted.
The condition, which can’t exactly be termed as (hurting) disease, can affect most of the torso and limbs, or just a small area, or a particular location. Nearly all the skin of the human body—with the exception of the palms and soles of the feet – are covered with hairs or hair follicles. The density of the hairs, thickness of the hairs, colour of the hairs, speed of hair growth, and other qualities like texture vary from one part of the body to another and also from one person to another. But in hypertrichosis all of the various controllers for the regulation of that genetic information are lacking, damaged or none existent.
Among those who have lately graced media pages for having werewolf syndrome are three Indian sisters whose father was born with the condition. Savita, 23, Monisha, 18, and 16-year-old Savitri Sangli, who live in a small village near Pune, central India, inherited the hypertrichosis universalis disorder from their father. The three, well into teenage years and seemingly ready to mingle with the opposite sex, are reported to struggle keeping the condition under control with medication cream, hoping that one day they’ll be able to rid themselves of the excess hair.
The girls’ mother, Anita, and the girls themselves are now desperate to find funds for laser surgery that will help remove the excess hair and allow the girls to lead normal lives. In their small village, the Sanglis have little prospects for marriage and the eldest Savita at times gets sent home from work when her hair begins to show.
Talking about her first born girl Anita said: “When I used to take her (Savita) out as a child, they used to shout ‘here comes the beast! The witch!’ That’s what they said.” She adds, “I tell people this is the type of girl she is; hair grows on her face, she has to apply medicine to lose some of it.”
The exact cause of hypertrichosis is unknown. But it is believed to be a genetic disorder that is inherited or occurs as a result of spontaneous mutation in the human X chromosome. It is an extremely rare condition with about 100 documented cases worldwide.
Scientists have recently discovered the gene, which causes werewolf syndrome. Researchers traced the mutation to its approximate location of in human genome. It is found in a section of the X chromosome (one of two sex chromosomes). Hypertrichosis does not discriminate between sexes or ages. The Guinness Book of World Records included a Thai girl in March, naming her “world’s hairiest child”.
- Relief as surgeons re-attach man’s severed private organ
- Can medical board really bite finger that feeds it?
- Mother claims nurse watched her newborn die
- Governor’s encounter with leaky roofs in school
- Police arrest former councillor for piracy
- Cord leaders allege ploy by State to ‘kill’ devolution through Ministry