14. Growing Disproportionately
As babies, the cells in our bodies dictate how we grow. Limbs, head, feet, fingers, and toes; it’s expected that everything will grow at the right rate so that it looks mostly symmetrical when we’re born. But there can be some complications in the womb, especially with the AKT1 gene that can cause problems. And that problem is called Proteus syndrome. The different kinds of tissues in the body, including bones and skin, are growing at different rates in various areas of the body. At birth, there are no signs that the syndrome is even present. But as the child gets older, the symptoms become quite clear.
One hand could end up being longer and larger than the other, for example. But there are more serious underlying conditions arising from this syndrome, such as poor eyesight, being more prone to seizures, growth of noncancerous tumors, increased formation of blood clots, and mental disabilities. The most famous Proteus syndrome case is Joseph Carey Merrick, more popularly known as “The Elephant Man.”