The Woman Who is Allergic to Modern Technology
For most people talking on a mobile phone, cooking dinner in the microwave or driving in a car is simply part of modern living in 21st century Britain. But completing any such tasks is impossible for Debbie Bird - because she is allergic to Cell Phones and Microwaves.The 39-year-old is so sensitive to the electromagnetic field (emf) or 'smog' created by computers, mobile phones, microwave ovens and even some cars, that she develops a painful skin rash and her eyelids swell to three times their size if she goes near them. As a consequence, Mrs Bird, a health spa manager, has transformed her home into an EMF-free zone to try and stay healthy. 'I can no longer do things that I used to take for granted,' Mrs Bird said. "My day-to-day life has been seriously affected by EMF"..
The Musician Who Can't Stop Hiccupping
Chris Sands, 24, from Lincoln, hiccups as often as every two seconds - and sometimes even when he is asleep. He has tried a variety of cures, including hypnosis and yoga, but nothing has worked. Mr Sands thinks his problem stems from an acid reflux condition caused by a damaged valve in his stomach. "If the acid levels are severe enough they are going to do keyhole surgery and grab part of my stomach and wrap it around the valve to tighten it," he said.Mr Sands, who is a backing singer in the group Ebullient, said the condition has hampered his career as he has only been able to perform four times. In the next couple of weeks --as of the day of the report--, doctors at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre will put a tube into his stomach to monitor acid levels and decide if keyhole surgery is possible.
The Girl Who Eats Only Tic Tacs
Natalie Cooper, a 17-year-old teenager who has a mystery illness that makes her sick every time she eats anything. Well, almost anything. She can eat one thing that doesn't make her sick: Tic tac mint!For reasons that doctors are unable to explain, Tic tacs are the only thing she can stomach, meaning she has to get the rest of her sustenance from a specially formulated feed through a tube.
The Woman Who Can't Forget
That's the story of AJ, an extraordinary 40-year-old married woman who remembers everything.McGaugh and fellow UCI researchers Larry Cahill and Elizabeth Parker have been studying the extraordinary case of a person who has "nonstop, uncontrollable and automatic" memory of her personal history and countless public events. If you randomly pick a date from the past 25 years and ask her about it, she'll usually provide elaborate, verifiable details about what happened to her that day and if there were any significant news events on topics that interested her. She usually also recalls what day of the week it was and what the weather was like.The 40-year-old woman, who was given the code name AJ to protect her privacy, is so unusual that UCI coined a name for her condition in a recent issue of the journal Neurocase: hyperthymestic syndrome.
The Girl Who is Allergic to Water
Teenager Ashleigh Morris can't go swimming, soak in a hot bath or enjoy a shower after a stressful day's work - she's allergic to water. Even sweating brings the 19-year-old out in a painful rash.Ashleigh, from Melbourne, Australia, is allergic to water of any temperature, a condition she's lived with since she was 14. She suffers from an extremely rare skin disorder called Aquagenic Urticaria - so unusual that only a handful of cases are documented worldwide.
The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep: stayed awake 24 hours a day for years
Rhett Lamb is often cranky like any other 3-year-old toddler, but there's one thing that makes him completely different: he has a rare medical condition in which he can't sleep a wink.Rhett is awake nearly 24 hours a day, and his condition has baffled his parents and doctors for years. They took clock shifts watching his every sleep-deprived mood to determine what ailed the young boy.After a number of conflicting opinions, Shannon and David Lamb finally learned what was wrong with their child: Doctors diagnosed Rhett with an extremely rare condition called chiari malformation."The brain literally is squeezed into the spinal column. What happens is you get compression, squeezing, strangulating of the brain stem, which has all the vital functions that control sleep, speech, our cranial nerves, our circulatory system, even our breathing system," Savard said.
The Man Who Doesn't Feel Cold
Dutchman Wim Hof, also known as the Iceman, is the man that swam under ice, and stood in bins filled with ice. He climbed the Mt. Blanc in shorts in the icy cold, harvested world records and always stands for new challenges.Scientists can't really explain it, but the 48-year-old Dutchman is able to withstand, and even thrive, in temperatures that could be fatal to the average person.
The Man Who Can't Get Fat
Mr Perry, 59, can eat whatever he likes - including unlimited pies, burgers and desserts - and never get fat. He cannot put on weight because of a condition called lipodystrophy that makes his body rapidly burn fat.He used to be a chubby child, but at age 12 the fat dropped off "almost over night". He initially tried to eat more to gain weight, but it had no effect. Mr Perry, of Ilford in Essex, endured a decade of tests before the illness was diagnosed. It finally emerged that his body produces six times the normal level of insulin. Doctors have admitted that the condition would be a "slimmer's dream".
The Girl That Collapses Every Time She Laughs
Kay Underwood, 20, has cataplexy, which means that almost any sort of strong emotion triggers a dramatic weakening of her muscles. Exhilaration, anger, fear, surprise, awe and even embarrassment can also cause sufferers to suddenly collapse on the spot.Kay, of Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire (UK), who was diagnosed with the condition five years ago, once collapsed more than 40 times in a single day. She said: "People find it very odd when it happens, and it isn't always easy to cope with strangers' reactions. "Like most cataplexy sufferers, Ms Underwood is also battling narcolepsy - a condition that makes her drop off to sleep without warning. Narcolepsy affects around 30,000 people in the UK and about 70 per cent of them also have cataplexy.