Rarest Diseases Quiz

Staff Writer

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About This Quiz

Some human afflictions are extremely uncommon and only affect a small percentage of the population. This makes it difficult to fund and research treatments and cures. How much do you know about these rare diseases?

What's the more common term for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva?

Stone man syndrome is a rare genetic disease that causes connective tissue and muscle to be slowly turned into bone. The disease is not only terrifying, but it's painful, too.

What happens when doctors attempt to remove unwanted bone from patients who have stone man syndrome?

Like something out of a horror movie, removing the unwanted bone material just causes the disease to spread faster. There is no cure for this disease.

Morgellons disease affects which part of the body?

Morgellons is considered a type of delusional parasitosis, in which patients feel a stinging sensation and believe (incorrectly) that they have red, blue or black fibers emerging from their skin.

People with aquagenic uticaria are allergic to what?

If you're suffering from aquagenic uticaria, you're allergic to water. When you come into contact with water, you develop hives.

About how many people worldwide deal with aquagenic uticaria?

Aquagenic uticaria is an extremely rare genetic disease that affects only about 30 people worldwide. Because the disease is so rare, there's no real treatment for it.

What happens to the hearts of people who have baroreflex failure?

Baroreflex failure causes sudden changes in blood pressure, often as a reaction to pain or stress. The cause is often unknown, but surgery or stress may play a role.

People with Adams-Oliver syndrome are missing portions of what?

Adams-Oliver syndrome manifests itself in different ways, but patients often have missing skin, or missing or deformed limbs. It's caused by genetic mutations.

What does it mean if babies have abetalipoproteinemia?

Babies with abetalipoproteinemia have a hard time absorbing nutrients like fats, vitamins and cholesterol. Unless treated, it can cascade into all sorts of developmental problems.

What is the more common name for a disease called Kuru?

A first symptom of Kuru is abrupt laughing fits. Months later, the laughing death would cause people to lose their bodily functions and then die.

What is the cause of the laughing death?

The disease was discovered in New Guinea in the 1950s -- the outbreak came to a halt once the practice of cannibalism was ended.

What happens to people with foreign accent syndrome?

In this bizarre phenomenon, people suddenly begin speaking with a foreign accent. First thought to be a mental disorder, it's actually caused by a brain malformation.

Worldwide, how many total cases of foreign accent syndrome have been recorded?

The first case was recorded in 1941. Since then, only about 60 cases of foreign accent syndrome have been recorded.

Methemoglobinemia is better known by which name?

People with methemoglobinemia, or blue skin disease, have elevated levels of methemoglobin in their blood, causing a bluish tinge to their skin.

Methemoglobinemia was made famous by a family from which U.S. state?

The Blue Fugates was the nickname for the Fugate family from Kentucky, which intermarried and thus perpetuated the genetic mutation that caused blue skin disease.

What's the name for a disease in which children manifest aspects of old age?

In progeria, young people look very old. The affected rarely live past the age of 13.

As of 2016, about how many children are afflicted with progeria?

There are about 150 confirmed cases and researchers suspect there may be more patients that haven't been identified. The disease is caused by a genetic mutation.

People with Guillain–Barré syndrome experience what scary problem?

Guillain–Barré syndrome causes abrupt muscle weakness due to nervous system damage. It affects only about one or two people per 100,000 annually.

What is NOT a symptom of ABCD syndrome?

Blindness isn't a symptom, but deafness and albinism are signs of ABCD syndrome. If patients are diagnosed early, those with ABCD syndrome can live fairly healthy lives.

Ichthyosis vulgaris is also called what?

Ichthyosis vulgaris is fish skin disease, in which the body can't shed dead skin cells, leading to thick patches of scaly skin. Most cases are minor, but there is no cure.

What's a defining trait of Fields' disease?

Fields' disease is a progressive muscle disorder and sufferers may experience more than 100 painful muscle spasms each day.

How many people have been affected by Fields' disease?

Only two people in history are known to have had Fields' disease -- identical twins Kirstie and Catharine Fields, from South Wales.

What's a giveaway sign that someone has hypertrichosis?

Hypertrichosis (sometimes nicknamed werewolf syndrome) results in excessive hair growth, sometimes all over the body. Some sufferers have been paraded in freak shows.

How many documented cases of werewolf syndrome have there been throughout history?

Fewer than 200 people have been diagnosed with werewolf syndrome. Some people have so much hair that it grows even on the palms of their hands.

What's a more common name for epidermodysplasia verruciformis?

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis is called tree man syndrome. It's a very rare disorder in which the skin uncontrollably develops tree-like growths, usually on the feet and hands.

Doctors usually don't identify ataxia telangiectasia until people reach what age?

As toddlers with ataxia telangiectasia try to walk, they sway and fall in a manner similar to intoxicated people. It's a genetic disease that causes serious disabilities.

Moebius syndrome affects the muscles in what part of the body?

People with Moebius syndrome have trouble with muscle control in their faces and eyes. They often can't frown or smile, or even raise their eyebrows.

About how many children are born with Moebius syndrome?

Researchers aren't sure, but about 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 500,000 babies are born with Moebius syndrome. The disease is sometimes called congenital facial diplegia or Moebius spectrum, among other things.

What's one sign of Bannayan–Riley–Ruvalcaba syndrome?

Bannayan–Riley–Ruvalcaba syndrome children have oversized heads. It's a rare genetic disease that causes physical and mental disorders.

In people with porphyria, what color are the feces and urine?

Gene mutations cause porphyria, a genetic disorder affecting the development of red blood cells. Sufferers often have symptoms like pain, insomnia … or purple urine and feces.

How many people have been diagnosed with RPI deficiency?

RPI deficiency is called the rarest disease in the world, having affected only one known person, diagnosed in 1999. It affects the white matter of the brain and is diagnosed via MRI.

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