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The Blue People of Troublesome Creek Trost Cathy The Blue People of troublesome Creek Science November 1982 Pp 35-39 Martin Fugate was a French orphan who settled on the banks of eastern Kentuckys Troublesome Creek His great-great-great-great grandson was born not far from Troublesome Creek He was born with dark blue skin that appeared to be the color of a bruised plum This color was due to blood inherited from past generations His great-great-great-great grandson Benjy lost his blue tint within a few weeks His lips and fingernails still turn a shade of purple-blue when he gets cold or angry The people that have this are simply known as blue people The recessive gene causes this ailment Madison Cawein a hematologist from the University of Kentucky came down to troublesome Creek in the 1960s to cure the blue people Martin Fugates descendants had multiplied their recessive genes all over the Cumberland Plateau Cawein only found the blue people with the help of Ruth Pendergrass Ruth was also known as a great big nurse Ruth discovered a blue person when it walked into the health department that she worked at She tried to expose this discovery so the blue disease could be cured Cawein says They were really embarrassed to be blue After ruling out heart and lung diseases the doctor suspected methemoglobinemia a rare hereditary blood disorder that results from excess levels of methemoglobin in the blood Methemoglobin which is blue is a nonfunctional form of the red hemoglobin that carries oxygen It is the color of oxygen-depleted blood seen in the blue veins just below the skin EM Scott a Public Health Service doctor at the Arctic Health Research Center in Anchorage had written a Journal of Clinical Investigation In this he had discovered hereditary methemoglobinemia among Alaskan Eskimos and Indians It was caused by an absence of the enzyme diaphoreses from their red blood cells This condition
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