hah. it’s only the opposite problem most of us have to deal with.
IT’S not easy being a “wolf boy” - but American scientists are confident they’ve finally found the silver bullet that can cure one.
Pruthviraj Patil, 11, suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as hypertrichosis - or “werewolf syndrome” - which causes a thick coat of hair to grow over every centimetre of his body except his palms and feet.
When he was born in a village near Mumbai, his mother was told she had given birth to a god. But in school, there have been more bullies than believers.
An episode of the TLC series My Shocking Story chronicled the efforts of a group of Columbia University scientists, including dermatologist Angela Christiano, to develop a cure for Pruthviraj’s disorder, which is estimated to afflict fewer than 50 people on the planet.
Pruthviraj’s family have tried every imaginable treatment, from homeopathy to laser surgery to a trip to the local barber, but the hair always grows back.
“I just want to be like everyone else,” Pruthviraj says.
Dr Christiano and her colleagues at Columbia are using injections of testosterone to stem the growth of hair.
Ironically, the breakthrough stems from her research into baldness. A dermatologist and geneticist, she’s a pioneer in the field who actually discovered a gene associated with hair loss.
The disease is believed to be genetic and not caused by a hormonal imbalance. From birth, all humans have some amount of body hair, but this rare mutation causes it to grow out of control.
“There is no known genetic cause. Usually, the parents are normal, so it’s quite a surprise when a child is born with this syndrome,” Dr Christiano said.
“We haven’t yet found a smoking gun, a true genetic mutation that leads to this disorder.”
Pruthviraj has just started the promising treatment, and it’s too early to tell its long-term effects, but the doctors are hopeful it will do the trick.
In his early years Pruthviraj was kept cloistered in his home, but his friends and neighbours grew to accept him over time.
“When I look in the mirror, I see that I have hair on my face and no one else does. Why is it only me?” he asked.
“My greatest desire is that the hair should go.”
Aside from the syndrome, he is healthy.
“We all play cricket together and the hair doesn’t stop me running or catching the ball. So it is not a big problem,” Pruthviraj said.
Today, he is popular at school and apparently happy.
But his mother Anita, 32, wishes he did not have to be a kid in wolf’s clothing.
Although many thought Pruthviraj’s birth was a sign of divinity, others feared that he was some sort of demon or bad omen.
“Why did God do this to us?” she asks.
“He looks so odd and, wherever we go, people throng to see him.”