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Woman Has Mysterious Allergic Reaction That Causes Fingernails to Grow from Hair Follicles

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We’ve talked about some strange medical conditions over the years here. Most recently, we mentioned the woman who had a live spider living in her ear for several days. Another very strange medical mystery has surfaced with the case of Shanya Isom, who has been visiting doctors around the world in an attempt to figure out what is causing her severe allergic reaction. Isom is having some sort of allergic reaction that is so bizarre that it’s causing fingernails to grow from hair follicles all over her body.

fingernail face

“Black scabs were coming out of her skin,” said her mother, Kathy Gary. “The nails would grow so long and come out and regrow themselves. They are hard to touch and stick you.” The young woman is unable to walk without assistance because of the reaction. Physicians at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore where the young woman is being treated told her family that she is the only person in the world they are aware of with this condition.

The disease first surfaced when the woman was in her junior year in college studying criminal justice in 2009. The woman went to the emergency room for an asthma attack and was given a large dose of steroids. Doctors suspect that caused an allergic reaction. She had itching after returning home from getting the steroid shot, and was given Benadryl but the reaction got worse. Doctors remain baffled by the condition.

[via Atlanta BlackStar]





Comments (8):

  1. giendeirnflasoneuvn says:

    if she was white this would be weird, but these weird race people have all sorts of deceases due to them living in squalor and filth.

  2. Rpahut says:

    I don’t like where TB is going with this kind of posts.

    • Technabob says:

      Why not? It’s definitely “Weird Science” which has always been one of our editorial categories.

      • Rpahut says:

        A spider living in womans ear is no science. It’s pseudo sensational garbage suitable for some low-grade website.

        It is also very repulsive. I fail to see how this fits into “inventions and discoveries” that were posted in that category before.

        • Luke says:

          A spider living in an ear, no, but that was used as an example. The main article is very interesting and very much has to do with science. What would cause nails to come out of skin cells? Why would an allergic reaction cause this? What can we learn from it? There is a lot of information that can be gleamed from this condition, making it somewhat more than a “sensationalist” story. And if you are disgusted by something like this, maybe you shouldn’t click the link to read it.

          • Rpahut says:

            Sure, of all the genetic diseases appearing during last three years this one has the most scientific value. What a silly person would say it only posted here because of it bazarreness.

            May I ask, what exactly have you learned from this article? Would you kindly share some of a lot of information you’ve gleamed out of it?

        • Luke says:

          Rpahut, it won’t let me reply to your later comment so I’m replying to this one instead. Also, sorry for the late response. I tried asking some people who would know more about this on reddit and got a few responses here: http://www.reddit.com/r/genetics/comments/yqcj1/i_saw_this_article_woman_has_allergic_reaction/. Looks like there have been similar cases, but nothing quite this extreme? Either way, any rare condition is important for science because it tells us something new the body is capable of that we didn’t know of before. It’s a “game-changer” that can allow us to think of the body in new and different ways, ultimately improving our experiment designs and hypothesis formulations. Information is always beneficial. Always.

          • Rpahut says:

            So, there is a place to discuss genetic diseases on the web after all.

            I’m not really into genetics, but hair and nail similarities are from the area of common knowledge, so there is nothing new for me in this article. No doubt, there are people who’s fancy to discuss whether it is keratosis or something else, and how this could happen, but then there are places where they can do that. To me, as well as to the most of technabob visitors, this article is just about a freaky and bizarre disease. As such it can still appeal to certain category of people, but Im glad they don’t post stuff like that anymore.

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