Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

eds-sm.jpgThe New England Jounal of Medicine has a case study this week from Tri-Service General Hospital in Taipei on someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, in which patients present with hyperelasticity of the skin and hypermobility of the joints. The patient, a 20-year-old man, came to the doctor because of a rectal prolapse he’d had since birth.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is an inherited condition with symptoms that can range from mild to severely debilitating. Typically, patients present with extremely stretchable skin (you know, like the rubber skinned guy in all those old circus photos) and extra-flexibility of joints (see photo above). The syndrome is also inherited in Himalayan cats and some breeds of domesticated cats, dogs, and cattle. It’s considered likely that 19th-century composer and virtuoso violinist Nicolò Paganini suffered from EDS, which resulted in his extremely long fingers and ability to perform amazing feats of violin playing. (A competing legend about Paganini in his time was that he’d sold his soul to the devil to gain his skills).
It’s also been hypothesized that escape artist Harry Houdini may have had the condition, enabling him to dislocate his shoulders in order to escape from restraints.
The dude in Taipei was “treated conservatively,” and was not operated on; his rectal prolapse was, er… corrected noninvasively, and he’s done fine for six years.
Photo & article Link.

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