Physician's Weekly
August 12, 2022
Unusual (and Interesting) Medical Conditions (Part 2)

Q: Thanks for the information you shared in last week’s article. Very informative. Are there any other uncommon medical conditions that you can tell us about?

It is estimated that approximately 350 million persons worldwide suffer from an “uncommon” disease. Unfortunately, persons suffering from such conditions, even after diagnosis, seldom get the treatment they need, because in the majority of instances specific treatment is unavailable. Below I will cover some additional uncommon medical conditions.

Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSP): With MSP typically an attention-seeking primary carer, in most cases the mother of a child under the age of 6, gets others to believe that their child is ill by inventing symptoms or by making the child ill via poisoning, starving or suffocating the child, or even in some instances giving the child an infection. In order to lend credence to the situation, some may further endanger the child’s life by allowing the child to undergo risky tests, procedures and surgeries. It is believed that many with MSP get satisfaction from misleading medical professionals. Triggers may include abuse or neglect as a child and the early loss of a parent. Major stress, such as relationship challenges, can precipitate MSP. This is not only a mental illness, but also constitutes child abuse. MSP often goes undetected.

Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS): With this condition, the individual’s mind loses the ability to control their hand. The movements of the affected hand become autonomous whereby the hand maneuvers without the individual’s control or awareness. The hand may engage in contradictory movements – e.g. closing a draw the other hand has opened. Persons with AHS often have a history of stroke, head trauma, brain surgery, brain tumour, degenerative brain disease, or brain aneurysm. There is no cure for AHS. Some who have AHS after a stroke or non-degenerative brain disorders may ultimately recover.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is commonly referred to as mad cow disease in humans. It ultimately causes dementia and death. While the symptoms are similar to Alzheimer’s, it is more rapidly progressive, and people die within a year. The misfolded protein within the brain that is responsible for this illness is called a prion. The prion may enter a human when they eat contaminated beef. It must be emphasized that the overall risk of contracting such is extremely low. No cases have been diagnosed in the Caribbean. This condition is most commonly seen in persons who are between the ages of 50 and 70, however, no age is immune.

Congenital Insensitivity To Pain With Anhidrosis (CIPA): Persons with this condition are born with the inability to perceive pain or temperature and in the majority of instances are unable to sweat. Because of the inability to perceive pain the child is prone to severe injuries.

These children often suffer from recurrent febrile seizures. It is most commonly found in the Negev Arabs. Unfortunately, most children with this condition die by the age of 3.

Author: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, c/o Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale,, [email protected], 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376 (WhatsApp)
Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided above.