Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Human Freak: Tree Man.

The video really speaks for itself this time:

Dede, AKA "Treeman," is slowly becoming an Ent. The technical term for his disorder is "epidermodysplasia verruciformis" or "Lewandowsky-Lutz dyplasia," but those just don't have the same ring to them as "Tree Man."

Whatever you want to call it, it is a heritable, recessive mutation that turns off the body's immunity to human papillomavirus, the same virus that causes warts in normal people. If you want to get really specific, it is caused by a malfunctioning EVER1 or EVER2 gene; nobody knows what those genes really do, but they probably have something to do with zinc regulation.

Dede's problems started when he accidentally cut his knee and got a few warts on his foot. He left the warts alone like most of us would because eh, what harm could warts do? Before he knew it, the growths started spreading across his body, resulting in the half-man, half-tree monstrosity you see before you.

Mind, that bark is not actual, botanical bark. It is a horny growth caused by a special vulnerability to the human papillomavirus. For people with Dede's affliction, the warts grow into keratinous growths resembling tree roots and bark.

Not an actual victim. Real tree-people do not have leaves.

Dede is not the only person in the world with this disorder. There was a Romanian man discovered with this disorder in 2007, the same year that the documentary with Dede was produced. In 2009, another tree man, also from Indonesia, met with Dede in what had to be the first meeting of walking trees ever.

There is no cure for this one, but, as with some of the deformities this week, there are temporary solutions. Dede has had 95% of his warts removed via surgery and skin grafts, but they will grow back. One scientist is also trying vitamin A on him. Several other chemicals have been tested, but thus far, there is no way to totally cure this odd immunodeficiency.

Thus concludes The Human Freak. Hope you enjoyed this little venture into Homo sapiens sapiens!

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