Cur­ing the tree peo­ple

Fortean Times - - Contents -

Sa­hana Khatun (be­low), a 10-yearold girl from Bangladesh, may be the first fe­male ever to be af­flicted by so-called “tree man syn­drome”. If the di­ag­no­sis is right, she be­comes one of a tiny group world­wide with ep id er modysp la si ave rruci form is, a rare ge­netic dis­ease that pro­duces scaly, bark-like growths par­tic­u­larly af­fect­ing the hands and feet. Only a few peo­ple – all men – are thought to have the dis­ease.

In Jan­uary 2016 Abul Ba­jan­dar (right) was suf­fer­ing badly from the dis­ease, but a year later he had made a full re­cov­ery and could hold his child for the first time in a decade (fac­ing page). His hands were each con­sumed by growths weigh­ing 11lb (5kg), with warts also grow­ing on his legs, giv­ing him the ap­pear­ance of a tree. The 27-yearold, the first Bangladeshi di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease, has now un­der­gone 16 sep­a­rate op­er­a­tions at Dhaka’s Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal to al­low him to use his hands once more. His doc­tors con­ducted tests to es­tab­lish whether Sa­hana had the same dis­or­der. They were hope­ful she might have a less ag­gres­sive ver­sion and thus be able to re­cover more quickly. In Fe­bru­ary, she un­der­went surgery to re­move the growths from her face. [AFP] Hin­dus­tan Times, BBC News, 31 Jan 2017. For a pre­vi­ous tree man, see Ft228:6-7 and 235:11.

pho­to­GRAphS: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN, SAM JAhAN / AFp /GettY IMAGeS

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