There are a multitude of medical disorders in existence, majority of which have extremely complicated names that you would probably need an MD to decipher (e.g. apotemnophilia or progressive supranuclear palsy). And then there are these. Five rare and incredibly strange conditions that sound as though they are from the realm of Doogie Howser and McDreamy.
Lucky for the patients, this condition does not result in an actual head explosion. Rather, patients with this syndrome experience enormously loud noises (such as an explosion or a scream) that seem come from within their head. These attacks are often accompanied by perceived flashes of light and an increase heart rate. Sufferers often experience fear and anxiety as well. The cause of Exploding Head Syndrome has yet to be determined but some findings suggest that it is linked to stress and fatigue.
Alien Hand Syndrome is a neurological condition whereby the individual feels dissociated from one of their hands. The sufferer has full sensation in the rogue hand but cannot control its movements, insisting that it is “possessed” by an external force. This condition typically arises as a result of a traumatic brain injury, brain surgery, stroke or infection. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this condition. All patients can do is give the rogue hand an object to manipulate and remain occupied.
Foreign Accent Syndrome is an extremely rare neurological disorder following a head injury, trauma or stroke. It changes the intonation and pitch of a person’s speech making it seem as if the sufferer is speaking their native language with a foreign accent. Research suggests that this condition is caused by the physical disruption of automatized speech control processes in the brain (primarily in the front portion of the left side of the brain). While some patients embrace their new accent identity, FAS may be reversible through intensive speech therapy.
Although their eyes are entirely normal, sufferers of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome perceive things in distorted sizes. A dog may appear to be the size of an elephant while a tractor may look like the size of a Tonka truck. Patients may also experience confusion regarding the size and shape of parts of (or all of) their bodies. Distortions can recur several times a day and may take some time to subside. This condition is often associated with migraines, brain tumours and the use of psychoactive drugs (like LSD).
*Fun Fact: it is believed that Lewis Carroll suffered from this neurological disorder and, therefore, was the inspiration behind the name.
Unlike the comedic take of this condition on Scrubs, this syndrome is slightly more morbid. Patients experiencing this delusional disorder believe they are dead and non-existent. Oftentimes sufferers claim to be able to feel and smell their putrifying flesh and organs. In rare instances, they can also believe that they are immortal. Walking Corpse Syndrome is primarily associated with psychoses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but can also be a recurring experience in those suffering from sleep deprivation, depression or amphetamine/cocaine psychosis.