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The Quick 10: 10 Bizarre Medical Conditions

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I have no sense of smell, and I think I might have Restless Leg Syndrome. As weird as those things may be, they doesn't even hold a candle to these other afflictions. Do you know anyone who suffers from any of them? Know of one that's stranger than these? Let us know in the comments!

1. Exploding Head Syndrome. We've covered EHS on the floss before. It happens a couple of hours after the person falls asleep and wake up because of an extremely loud explosion noise coming from inside their own heads. It is not the result of a dream, however. Some physicians think it's a sign of stress and fatigue.

dance2. Dancing Mania. It sounds like one of those old dance shows from the "˜50s, like American Bandstandor the Corny Collins Show (yes, I know that wasn't a real show). But Dancing Mania is a real condition that killed thousands of people between the 14th and 18th centuries. People twitched and "danced" and spasmed even when they were too tired to stand; those afflicted were thought to be possessed by the devil and violent exorcisms were held to try to free them. We're still not sure what caused Dancing Mania, although there are several theories out there. One includes eating rye bread which has been infected by a fungus that contains some of the same substances that LSD contains, so it's possible that people with Dancing Mania were just on a really bad (or good?) trip.

3. Laughter Epidemic. In 1962, an outbreak of mass hysteria, now called the Tanganyika laughter epidemic, swept the village of Kashasha in Tanzania. According to American Scientist, a group of schoolgirls started laughing over some silly joke and infected everyone around them. It was so bad that schools had to close for six months. People were laughing even when they didn't want to and even started fainting and breaking out in rashes. But it died down almost as quickly as it started, and there have been no reports of anything even close to the same scale since.

4. Genital Retraction Syndrome. People who have this think that their genitals are shrinking or even actually retracting back into their bodies.

To be clear, that's not happening at all "“ they just think it's happening. And women sometimes experience it too, thinking that their nipples are shrinking. It's not uncommon for one case to turn into many, many cases thanks to paranoid men "“ these outbreaks are called Penis Panics. I know it sounds like I'm making this up, but I'm not!

5. Stendhal Syndrome, AKA Art Attack. If you're ever looking at a gorgeous piece of artwork and feel your pulse quicken, get confused or experience dizziness, you may have Stendhal Syndrome. Sometimes this is even accompanied by hallucinations. This seems to happen in Florence, Italy, all of the time; the syndrome is named after an author who experienced it there in 1817. Since then, lots of people have reported similar symptoms in Florence, especially at the Uffizi gallery.

6. Foreign Accent Syndrome. I think this one is absolutely fascinating. It happens when people experience some sort of a brain injury "“ cases have been reported after strokes in particular. After the trauma, the person speaks with a foreign accent, often from a country they have never even been to. You have to check out this video "“ it's so interesting.

7. Paris Syndrome seems to be experienced almost exclusively by Japanese tourists visiting the famous city in France. It seems to happen when the city isn't what they thought it was or when people are rude to them, making them suffer a psychiatric breakdown. It afflicts about 12 people every year and the Japanese embassy has set up a 24-hour hotline to help tourists in Paris find medical treatment when it happens.

8. Somatoparaphrenia. You might be familiar with this if you're a Grey's Anatomy fan (are there still Grey's fans out there? I gave up on it a long time ago). It's when someone thinks that a particular part or section or their body doesn't belong to them. On the show, a patient wanted his foot amputated because it apparently wasn't his.

shaun9. The Cotard Delusion. Do you sometimes get the nagging feeling that you're, well"¦ dead? That your flesh is rotting? That your internal organs aren't there anymore? That's the Cotard Delusion, or Cotard's Syndrome. It's very rare and is thought to be related to Capgras' Syndrome, where people don't recognize faces that they should.
10. Amputee Identity Disorder. This is when people think that they would be happier if they had one or more of their limbs cut off. Sometimes it's a sexual thing, but not always. It's usually very specific: most sufferers are middle-aged, Caucasian men who want their left legs amputated just above the knee.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.


A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.


Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.


Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.


The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.


Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.


Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]


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