Our hands are capable of loving and comforting, of precision and gentility, of creating beauty and art; but what of those who have little to no ability to use their hands?
One of the most stunning and mysterious cases of hand inoperability is found in those with Epidermodusplasia Verucciforum, or “Tree Man Disease” Many diseases that affect the hands are not particularly debilitating; however the strange nature of this condition makes it almost impossible for the individual to live a normal and healthy life. This incapacitating disease, however impossible it seems, is extraordinary and true.
Exploring the Science: Cause and Effect
Epidermodusplasia Verruciformis is a genetic disorder of the skin that causes wart-like lesions that most often resemble the bark and roots of a tree. These scaly macules begin growing on hands or feet as a result of a mutation in Chromosome 17 and an onset of the HPV type 5 and 8 virus. Uncontrolled growth can result in a full blown onset of macules that harden the skin and create a bark-like effect of enlargement and overgrowth.
While there is no cure for the underlying cause, a very complex order of treatment that uses a multi-faceted approach has shown success in keeping the symptoms of the disease at bay. Interferons and retinoids have been the traditional and most effective solution for resolving the overgrowth while some topical histamine receptors have also been known to reduce the growth rate of the lesions. The idea behind treatment is to catch the disease early enough that you can prevent the expansive growth of the macules and reduce the necessity for surgery later on. If the disease has progressed, then surgery to remove the hardened warts is often the only way to regain the maximum use of your hands or feet.
There are several notable cases of Epidermodusplasia Verruciforums that have had significant exposure to treatment. One of the worst cases that has presented itself for diagnosis and treatment, is that of a 26 year old father in Bangladesh named Abul Bandajar. According to Mr Bandajar, the tree man disease first appeared 10 years ago in 2006. This debilitating skin disease literally stopped Mr Bandajar from living a productive and healthy life. A hard-working man, Mr Bandajar was forced to stop working and unable to care for his children due to the 11 pounds of root-like growths that are present on his hands. When self-removal became too painful for Mr Bandajar, he turned to the experts for help. Fortunately for him, a team of doctors has agreed to perform the surgery free of charge, and soon Mr Bandajar will have his life back!