Modern the medicine has moved so far ahead over the last century that it is sometimes hard to believe that there are still some significant dark spots in this area. However, physicians are often faced with medical puzzles associated with certain phenomena.
The reasons why these phenomena defy explanation can vary from the lack of registered cases that would allow them to be studied in detail and fully described, to the complete absence of any causal link.
In a single article it is impossible to list all the medical mysteries faced by modern medicine. However, even a few vivid examples can be quite enough to see how much is still unknown in medicine, and what a huge way this science has to go in order to reveal all its secrets.
We suggest that you familiarize yourself with ten medical riddles and phenomena that are, in fact, very significant. On the one hand, they demonstrate that there is still room for medicine to develop on the other – they give us the opportunity to see how deeply people have penetrated the secrets of medicine.
Phenomena of modern medicine
Medical Student Syndrome
Almost every person had the thought (even for a short moment) that he has symptoms of some serious incurable disease. And most of these people, by the nature of their activities, are very, very far from medicine.
What to say about medical students who are forced to study thousands of diseases with thousands of symptoms in order to subsequently make the correct diagnosis for their future patients!
Plunging headlong into school, many students begin to sincerely believe that they themselves have the symptoms of the diseases they are studying. This interesting phenomenon is called “medical student syndrome”.
Similar feelings of students are temporary (unlike, for example, from other psychopathic conditions – anxiety disorder, and so on). However, the exact cause of this phenomenon is still unexplained.
Researchers know how this happens: medical students begin to get a general idea of these diseases as they study diseases. Some students begin to identify their own normal bodily sensations with the details that this general idea gives.
According to one of the studies, in which future employees of medicine took part in completely different areas of medicine, up to 78.8 percent of medical students faced with a medical student’s syndrome.
Some of them bother so much about various symptoms that they begin to treat themselves for those diseases that they do not have. Despite the fact that the medical student’s syndrome is well known to both teachers and students, the latter continue to suffer from it during training.
Many patients who have been cured of cancer have reported long-term cognitive impairment resulting from chemotherapeutic treatment. In our language, there is even such a term describing this phenomenon – chemo brain, borrowed from English (chemo brain).
Symptoms of this phenomenon may vary. However, the most often talk about the deterioration of intellectual abilities, reducing the function of memory, difficulties in performing multi-tasking work. It is noteworthy that for many years, physicians of various stripes denied the existence of this phenomenon.
Nevertheless, as the number of diagnosed cases of cognitive disorders increased, medical specialists came to the need to study this phenomenon. Subsequently, the link between chemotherapy and cognitive decline has been proven.
Despite numerous cases of what is called the chemo-brain effect, there is still no consensus in the medical environment about the exact causes of the phenomenon. Some researchers even believe that the chemo-brain is based on something more than just the effects of chemotherapy.
This phenomenon continues to be studied not only in humans, but also in animal models. It is extremely important to establish a clear reason leading to the chemo-brain, since this would allow the development of methods for the prevention of cognitive changes. To date, this question continues to be a mystery for physicians, and research on the phenomenon of the chemo-brain continues.
For the first time Klippel-Trenone syndrome (also called varicose osteohypertrophic nevus) was described in 1900. This is a very rare congenital disease, which affects the system of blood vessels, bone tissue and soft tissues of the body.
The characteristic features of Klippel-Trenone syndrome: the appearance of red birthmarks on the body (one of the types of capillary hemangioma called a flaming nevus or wine spots) abnormal growth of bone tissue and proliferation of soft tissues as well as malformation of normal veins, in which there are impaired vein development and their pathological expansion.
Sometimes the abnormal growth of bones and soft tissues can lead to the fact that the limbs of a sick person become very large (most often we are talking about the lower limbs). With normal vein malformations, large blood clots can form.
Despite the fact that Klippela-Trenone syndrome is, as mentioned above, a rather rare occurrence, some famous people suffering from this syndrome have added fame to this disease. For example, he was diagnosed with the leader of the American musical group The Smashing Pumpkins.
The man known in the world of professional arm wrestling, the German Matthias Schlitte, suffers from this syndrome. However, the last character managed to extract the maximum benefit from his illness: due to Klippel-Trenone syndrome, Schlitte’s right hand acquired enormous dimensions, which allowed him to become a very successful armwrestler.
The size of Matthias’ hand increased by 33 percent due to the abnormal growth of the bone of the right limb. Armwrestler even got the nickname “Hellboy” – after the name of one of the movie and comic characters, the owner of the big right hand, insensitive to pain.
Klippel-Trenone syndrome is an irreversible and progressive disease, and the treatment process now includes only the fight against symptoms. Nowhere in the world there is a cure for this condition, however, as well as clear explanations about the causes of this pathology.
A syndrome that medical science cannot explain
Rip Van Winkle Syndrome
Rip Van Winkle is a character in the eponymous book by an American writer named Washington Irving. The main character – a resident of the village, who, hunting, wandered into the mountains, decided to spend the night there, and slept, as it turned out after, as much as 20 years.
Irving’s novel – fiction. But Rip Van Winkle syndrome (we know it more, like Kleine-Levin syndrome or sleeping beauty syndrome) is a very real, though extremely rare, phenomenon. Moreover, the physiological causes of this syndrome are still unclear.
There is a case of a certain Stephen Meier, a victim of Kleine-Levin syndrome. A 13-year-old boy suffered from an upper respiratory infection. Against this background, the child developed Kleine-Levin syndrome – the boy fell asleep, and his parents could not wake him for a very long time.
When they did, however, Stephen found himself in complete prostration. Many tests were conducted on various pathologies of the body, but all of them gave a negative result. No abnormalities have been shown by Stephen’s brain research.
Since then, Mayer’s life has been subject to a certain cycle: for 10–20 days, Stephen could sleep 22 hours a day. When he was 20 years old, this disease, so mystically affecting his body, retreated in the same mysterious way.
Another case describes the story of a 17-year-old resident of Pennsylvania, USA, who slept 22 hours a day, or even a day, for 64 days. And even when she was awakened to eat or bathe, the girl carried out all subsequent actions in an unconscious state.
Increased drowsiness is not the only symptom of Kleine-Levine syndrome. A person suffering from this symptom often has problems with appetite, sees hallucinations, shows complete indifference to the joys of life, demonstrates childish behavior and hypersexuality. In between the exacerbations of the syndrome, such a person temporarily completely gets rid of these symptoms.
People with Kleine-Levine syndrome can spend the lion’s share of their lives in a dream. There are several theories about what causes this pathology – from some mysterious virus to the autoimmune reaction of the body. In fact, the causes of this syndrome still remain a real mystery to science.
This strange state with such a complex name was first described in 2004. Symptoms include severe nausea, uncontrollable vomiting, and gastroenterological distress. Subsequent studies revealed the following pattern: all patients with this condition were great fans of marijuana.
Despite the fact that researchers failed to clearly establish the causes of cannabinoid hyperemesis, two main theories were put at the forefront. According to the first of these, toxins from the cannabinoid group lead to this condition. According to the second theory, the cause is a violation of the functionality of the brain’s cannabinoid receptors.
Somewhat reduce the intensity of symptoms can be, if you take a hot shower or bath. The only way to completely get rid of the above symptoms is to stop smoking marijuana altogether. At the same time, improvement takes from one to three months, or a little more.
Symptoms of severe vomiting usually last one to two days. What is particularly surprising is the fact that marijuana itself is known for its antiemetic effect. This paradox is felt by those people who take marijuana for medicinal purposes in order to get rid of vomiting and nausea, but as a result, these symptoms are further aggravated.
The reasons for which some smokers of marijuana develop this condition, while others do not, are not yet known. Cannabinoid hyperemesis is a very complex syndrome that has yet to be thoroughly studied. Given the fact that worldwide use of marijuana is increasing, researchers will have a lot of material to study this phenomenon.
A few years ago, an interesting publication appeared in the popular medical publication in the UK (New England Journal of Medicine), which attracted the attention of many representatives of the global medical community.
At first glance, this was a typical report on the treatment of a patient suffering from melanoma. According to the published information, which was given by the representative of the Memorial Sloan Memorial Cancer Center in New York, USA, one of the patients who received radiotherapy and a drug called “ipilimumab”, noted the fact of reduction of metastasis.
Surprising in this report was not the fact of improving the health of a patient suffering from melanoma. What was surprising was how metastasis of melanoma reacted in the entire body of the patient after the local treatment of one particular area of his body.
In fact, this is the inexplicable phenomenon of the abscopal effect – a term that entered medical science back in the 60s of the last century. Many decades have passed, but it is still unknown why metastasis in one part of the body decreases when cancer is affected locally in another part of the body.
In 2004, an interesting hypothesis was first published, according to which the cause of this unexpected reaction is the response of the immune system. However, no evidence was found for this, and therefore, scientists still have to invent new hypotheses, continuing to study this strange phenomenon, since the answer, perhaps, would help humanity to defeat cancer diseases in principle.
The most mysterious phenomenon of medicine
The phenomenon of lazarus
An 11-month-old girl died in the intensive care unit and intensive care unit at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York, USA. She was tried to resuscitate with intensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation measures, including seven doses of adrenaline and four digits of fibrillation current.
Death was officially registered after two minutes of asystole (cardiac arrest). The girl’s family was crushed by grief. Doctors disconnected the child from the respirator, to allow inconsolable relatives in their grief to say goodbye to the baby. By that time, 15 minutes had passed since her death.
But the girl suddenly breathed. Her heart began to beat again, her normal complexion was restored, her reflexes returned. None of the employees of the Medical Center has ever encountered anything similar in their medical practice.
Meanwhile, we are talking about a phenomenon known in medical science (albeit a very rare one) that is called the “Lazarus effect”. This amazing phenomenon was first described in 1982. Called him by the name of Lazarus of Bethany, a biblical character who passed away and was resurrected by Jesus four days later.
Explanations of this wonderful phenomenon of resurrection have not yet been found by any researcher. According to one version, this is facilitated by an extremely rare confluence of a number of factors, among which may be the delayed effect of resuscitation.
The phenomenon of aversion to smoking after hepatitis A
Millions of people resort to a host of all sorts of methods to quit smoking once and for all. Numerous studies are conducted annually, as a result of which humankind learns more and more about the reasons why people become addicted to this habit.
Maybe you should pay attention to why some people have a frank disgust for smoking? After all, much less is known about this! Meanwhile, science is aware of one extremely interesting mechanism that almost immediately triggers aversion to smoking. This happens with the development of hepatitis A.
There are various manifestations of the development of hepatitis A in a sick person, which depend on the stage of the disease. In the first stage (the so-called viral replication stage), the disease is usually asymptomatic in most patients.
When it comes to the prodromal period of hepatitis A (that is, the second stage), anorexia can develop in patients, nausea and vomiting appear, muscle pains are marked by general fatigue, irritability and. there is an aversion to smoking. Then the disease begins to affect the liver and digestive organs.
Despite the fact that the emergence of aversion to smoking is a documented effect of acute hepatitis A, practically nothing is known about its causes. Be that as it may, most researchers are inclined to believe that, if it is possible to uncover this mechanism, then it will help millions of people around the world to quit smoking.
Allergy to meat after tick bite
Relatively recently, researchers from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, USA, unexpectedly began to register in their own country a significant increase in the incidence of anaphylaxis (an immediate allergic reaction) to red meat.
An allergic reaction was caused by the so-called alpha-gal molecule – a sugar molecule, which is found in beef, pork, lamb meat and other red meat. Every day, researchers plunged deeper into the study of the histories of patients with similar allergies (alpha-gal allergy).
As a result of research, scientists were able to find that the majority of patients lived in the South of the country and in certain parts of New York, New Jersey and New England, the USA. A more detailed study revealed the following fact: all patients suffered a tick bite called Amblyomma americanum.
The allergy itself, which occurred within three to six hours after eating the meat, was rather difficult to diagnose (especially considering the fact that the usual anaphylaxis manifested itself within 5-30 minutes).
The symptoms of this strange anaphylaxis ranged from a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract to the appearance of itching and swelling of the extremities. However, there was no swelling of the larynx. Habitual allergy tests could not detect antibodies against alpha-gal allergies, so many patients were diagnosed erroneously.
However, a certain Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills managed to find a connection with the alpha-gal molecule. Some of his patients who were bitten by the mite Amblyomma americanum also showed a response to an anti-cancer drug like alpha-cetuximab.
Thus, the source of this unusual allergy has been identified. However, despite this, no research has yet revealed the specific reasons why Amblyomma americanum tick bite leads to alpha-gal allergy.
Secrets of medicine
Cellular memory is a very controversial hypothesis, according to which the body has the ability to preserve certain memories, just like the brain itself. And since there are mostly single, unconfirmed evidence on this topic, many consider this theory to be pseudoscientific.
By the manifestation of cellular memory, many include the phenomenon of phantom pain in any joint or limb after injury. The phenomenon of cellular memory is also talked about in the context of organ transplantation, when people who had transplanted any organs acquired the skills of their donors.
Researchers from the University of Hawaii, USA, conducted a detailed study, the purpose of which was to search for evidence (or denials) of the fact that recipients acquire some skills from their donors during organ transplants. For this, it was necessary to discover certain parallels in the behavior of those and others.
In this study, 10 patients were studied, each of whom, after completing the heart transplant operation, showed from two to five behavioral traits similar to their donors, previously not seen in recipients. These behavioral changes affected areas of their lives, such as addictions in art, food, rest, work, and even sex.
One of the patients was a certain Claire Silvia, who had the heart of an 18-year-old man who died in a motorcycle accident. When the woman recovered from the operation, she felt a strong desire to drink beer and eat chicken nuggets, which she had never seen before.
Moreover, thoughts about a man called Tim constantly came to her mind. What was her surprise when Claire, after examining the data on the death of her donor, discovered that his name was Tim! Later, from talking with Tim’s family, she learned that the deceased loved beer with chicken nuggets.
In another study carried out by experts at Tufts University, USA, experimental scientists became … trained ringed worms. They can, for example, teach them how to navigate in a T-shaped maze. The worms in question are also somehow trained for something.
Then they removed the head and the nerve bundle, replacing their brain, which is only about 1 / 279th of their total length. After the worms regenerated the severed parts of the body, they again demonstrated the skills with which they had been trained.
It seems that a lot of research on the phenomenon of cellular memory has to be carried out before it is possible to prove the existence of this phenomenon or disprove it. Be that as it may, the facts of adopting some features of their donors by the recipients are obvious, and there is no other explanation for this, apart from cellular memory.