�PRIMETIME: MEDICAL MYSTERIES� EXAMINES RARE AND EXTRAORDINARY
MEDICAL CASES IN TWO BACK-TO-BACK SHOWS ON AUGUST 9, 2006
This week �Primetime: Medical Mysteries� airs two back-to-back installments with reports on some of the rarest cases known to medicine today. While medical science has progressed exponentially, the series takes a look at the cases that still leave scientists and doctors with unanswered questions when trying to explain the human body. �Primetime: Medical Mysteries� airs in two back-to-back shows, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9 (9:00-10:00 & 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
In the first hour:
� Deborah Roberts reports on a beautiful woman named Camille, whose life has been turned upside down by an ailment that has not marred her looks in any way or even caused her any ill health. Camille�s body exudes a strange and overwhelming smell that has resulted in constant embarrassment, leaving a job, and being ridiculed for years. She and others like her have spent thousands of dollars to find out the cause, and while there is no cure, doctors have been able to determine that her body produces a chemical called trimethylaminuria -- which results in the awful smell.
� Fourteen-year-old Ben Underwood is blind � but that doesn�t stop him from seeing. He rollerblades, rides his bike, even shoots hoops. He is one of the few known people who -- like a bat or a dolphin - use echolocation to �see� by the sounds he makes. Bob Brown reports on the fascinating ability for humans to distinguish where objects are by listening for echoes.
� Imagine a person goes to bed one night and wakes up the next morning speaking with an entirely different accent. John Quinones revisits Foreign Accent Syndrome, where a person finds themselves speaking their native language but with a distinctly different accent, and they can't help it. From a woman who awoke one day with Russian accent �having never even been to Russia or Europe - to a man who, after a stroke, finds himself talking like Maurice Chevalier, doctors can diagnose the rare syndrome -- but how do you cure it?
� Chris Cuomo updates a story on his new friend -- a child who may be six years old, but is living in a body that seems in its 70's. Sam has a condition that only 40 children in the world endure, progeria. It causes rapid, premature aging -- strokes, heart attacks, hair loss, arthritis -- for children who haven't even gotten through elementary school. Yet Sam is full of joy and life -- and his mother, full of determination, found the gene that may eventually lead to a cure for boys like Sam.
The second hour looks at syndromes far beyond our normal experience:
Jay Schadler updates a report on a rare condition called Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), whose sufferers obsess over losing one or more of their limbs because they say they don�t feel �whole� with these limbs -- their body image of themselves is that of an amputee. �Primetime� talks with BIID patients, including a man who deliberately freezes his legs, ultimately forcing doctors to amputate, and an intensely physically active man who -- despite his love of hiking and skiing -- longs to have his left leg cut off.
Also: For years a syndrome known as Morgellon�s was written off as hallucinations, a psychological ailment and not a physical one. Sufferers are convinced that fibers -- blue, red, green -- are coming out of their skin -- and often feel like bugs are crawling on or beneath the surface. This report looks at the strange condition and whether the expanding body of medical evidence proves it to be a medical syndrome. While Morgellon�s isn�t officially recognized as a disease, The Center for Disease Control says they're setting up a study group to look into these strange fibers. Cynthia McFadden reports.
And: Throughout the episode there will be clues to another real life medical mystery -- in this case , the strange metamorphosis of Larry, a 57-year old Texan whose doctor called him "the Incredible Hulk.� Why are his ears and nose swelling up, why does hair grow all over him as fast as they can cut it, why does his face transform? These interactive segments, entitled �You Be the Doctor,� will allow viewers to assess medical clues and vote online for Larry's diagnosis, one that initially stumped the doctors. At the end of the hour, the audience will learn if they chose the right answer.
Ann Reynolds and Terence Wrong are the senior producers of �Medical Mysteries.� Rudy Bednar is the executive producer.