Curing the tree people
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.