Hypertrichosis or 'Werewolf Syndrome'

Hypertrichosis or Ambras Syndrome is the description of a condition which causes extremely excessive hair growth about the body and face. Another term which has been given to it in the modern era is Werewolf Syndrome although people with Hypertrichosis do not generally suffer with clinical lycanthropy.

The abnormality comes in two variations; generalized Hypertrichosis which affects the entire body, and localized Hypertrichosis which only targets a specific area. It can be both congenital (from birth) or develop later in life.

The earliest recorded case was back in 1648 when Petrus Gonzales of the Canary Islands was documented by Altrovandus who noted that several family members of the family had Hypertrichosis which he later called the Ambras family after the castle in Innsbruck where portraits of the family were found. Only 50 cases have been recorded since then.

Classifications of Hypertrichosis

As stated before the two main types are generalized and localized, but there are other forms within those too such as:

  • Congenital Hypertrichosis Lanuginosa is obvious from birth as the baby is covered in fine hair. This hair is normally shed before birth. As the individual gets older the hair often thins out although not completely disappearing.
  • Congenital Terminal Hypertrichosis is the strain which lent itself to the phrase ‘werewolf syndrome’ as the body is covered with pigmented hair and is often accompanied by enlargement of the gums. People with this variation have been cast as circus performers and freakshow attractions throughout history. Michael J. Fox’s werewolf in Teenwolf was similar in appearance to a terminal hypertrichosis case.
  • Congenital Circumscribed Hypertrichosis is normally indicated by a covering of thick hair on the upper body and is a variation of localized Hypertrichosis. It is present at birth and more prominent as the person gets older.
  • Nevoid Hypertrichosis is not always present at birth and may appear later in life. It is not normally associated with any other diseases.

The acquired variations are much the same but develop later in life as opposed to the individual being born with them. Leave a comment with your thoughts on Hypertrichosis. Read about clinical lycanthropy; Perigee moon; Eclipse; Prada Willi Syndrome and Progeria. images: arbroath.blogspot.com; unrealitymag.com

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