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Proteus Syndrome Have you ever heard of Joseph Merrick more commonly known as the Elephant Man Merrick is probably the most interesting example of all skin-anomalies The correct diagnosis for Merricks condition was not discovered until 1979 a century after his death His unfortunate condition was not the result of his mother being knocked down by an elephant shortly before his birth or because Merrick suffered from the genetic disorder called Elephant Man Disease Recent studies of Merricks remains have confirmed theories that Merrick was the victim of a much rarer disease that was identified in 1979 as Proteus Syndrome Proteus Syndrome is a condition which involves abnormal growth of the bones skin head and a variety of other symptoms This condition was first identified by Dr Michael Cohen Jr in 1979 In 1983 a German pediatrician Has Rudolf Wiedemann named it Proteus Syndrome for the Greek God Proteus and this was the condition of Joseph Merrick who was born in Leicester England in 1862 Joseph Carey Merrick first began to develop tumors on his face before his second birthday His condition quickly worsened as cauliflower-like growths grew from his head and body and his right hand and forearm became a useless club Merrick earned a living by exhibiting himself in a variety of sideshows called the Elephant Man because of a tusk-like growth on his face One promoter dreamed up the story that Merricks mother had been trampled by a elephant while pregnant resulting in her sons hideous deformities Medical science has long sought a more probable explanation One early belief was that Merrick suffered from elephantiasis a disorder of the lymphatic system that causes parts of the body to swell to grotesque proportions Later it was theorized that he had an extremely severe case of neurofibromatosis This nervous system disorder causes nerve cells to grow out of control creating large misshapen tumors Neurofibromatosis is not phenomenally rare occurring in one of every
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