Good News for Hypochondriacs: 'Stone Man' Disease Is Real!

New book highlights frightening ailments
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2010 1:17 PM CDT
The cover of "The Hypochondriac's Handbook" by Ian Landau.   (Handout)

(Newser) – Did you know that there’s a rare syndrome-- fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva—that can cause your bones to grow so uncontrollably that you become a “stone man”? That’s just one of the strange ailments described in the Hypochondriac’s Handbook, a new book chock-full of rare diseases. USA Today interviews author Ian Landau, but we’ve decided to cut to the chase and just list all the cool diseases he mentions. Like…

  • Human Botfly Myiasis: Larvae grow below human skin, emerging as insects 6 to 10 weeks later.
  • Guinea Worm Disease: Similar, only this time it’s a 3-foot-long worm growing in your foot.
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: A neurological disorder that causes objects to appear to be larger or smaller than they are
  • Foreign Accent Syndrome: For example.
  • Cutaneous Horn: A skin disease that causes actual horns to grow on your body.
  • Human Werewolf Syndrome: Also known as “hypertichosis” or, in plain English, “excessive hair growth.”

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