Clinical Vampirism

Discussion in 'Science and the Universe' started by iBrian, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Clinical Vampirism

    There are a number of scientifically recognised and accepted medical conditions that have great similarities with classic physical manifestations of the "vampire".

    Most of the following (excepting XP and HED) come under the general medical grouping of Porphyria, all of which are relatively rare genetic disorders:


      • Xeroderma Pigmentosa (XP)
      • Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (HED)
      • Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP)
      • Variegate Porphyria (VP)
      • Hereditary Coproporphyria (HC)
      • Plumbopophyria (PP)
      • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT)
      • Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP)
      • Congenital Porphyria (CP)
    One of the greatest commonalities regarding symptoms includes not simply acute photosensitivity, but severe skin damage caused by prolonged exposure to Ultra-Violet light, whether it be from sunlight, halogen lights, or even types of fluourescent lighting.

    Many of the above genetic conditions also feature additional symptoms. Anaemia is a common denominator, and another possible symptom is the receding of the gums (making the canine teeth appear more like fangs). Also small sores, closely resembling puncture marks, can form upon the skin. Varieties where discolouring occurs can also be apparent, including a pronounced darkness about the eyes, and dark red staining all about the mouth. Certain physical peculiarities, especially in the facial area, can also occur (I refuse to use the word "deformities" here).

    Some of these genetic conditions can be diagnosed either at birth or at an otherwise very young age, as like with muscular dystrophy. Others can take years, even decades, before the relevant symptoms become apparent, as like with multiple sclerosis. Many sufferers of the above conditions have a thousand fold increase likelihood of developing specific cancers, especially in the organ of the skin, such as melanoma variants. Some of the above conditions are even terminal, the body being unable to repair tissue damage caused by the condition.

    I would like to hesitatingly suggest that anyone who suffers from one of the porphyria conditions, or even XD or HED, but remains undiagnosed (especially one of the varieties that only develop in the onset of adult life) may find themselves in a confused state as to their condition. As the physical disorder worsens, and "vampire-like" symptoms develop, it is not unimaginable that such a person may begin to associate themselves personally more and more with the cultural symbol of the "vampire".

    Following are a few short passages and following links relating to clinical vampirism:

    PASSAGES:



    1/ Porphyria as a diagnosis for vampiric myth and legend:

    Their lack of medical knowledge about diseases, some of which are quite rare and hard to explain even to this day was a large factor in the
    spread of vampire lore. Along with the fact that very uneducated people have always had
    a tendency of being overly superstitious also contributed to the vampire legend. In 1985
    Dr. David Dolphin, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at the University of British Columbia
    presented his theory that blood-drinking vampires were not vampires at all but rather
    victims of a disease known as Porphyria.(Dresser, Norine. American Vampires p171) "
    Porphyria is an incurable genetic disease which affects at least 50,000 patients in the U.S.
    that causes sudden symptoms of severe pain , respiratory problems, Skin lesions and
    sometimes death."(Dresser, Norine. American vampires p171) "Porphyria may well have
    been responsible for many a vampire tale - especially since the disease is hereditary"
    (Garden, Nancy. Vampires p98) A person that is affected by Porphyria can seem very
    scary to the average person since the disease causes the persons gums to tighten. That
    causes their teeth to be seen much more prominently as well as causing their teeth and
    nails to gain a fluorescent glow.These traits could then go on to explain the fact that
    many vampire stories described the vampires as giving off a greenish glow. Victims of
    this disease are likely to be deformed in other ways as well but usually in the facial area.
    Because of the skin lesions suffered by victims of Porphyria they are usually very
    sensitive to light which would cause them to not venture out of their homes until night.


    2/. HOW DO I KNOW IF ANYONE HERE IS A VAMPIRE (MYSELF INCLUDED)?

    Presume that if someone claims to be a vampire, they are - even if only in their own minds. Remember that "behaviour is attitude in action" and that, probably, whoever thinks like a vampire (right or wrong) might act like a vampire. For now we'll try to avoid the question of which philosophy is correct, "to do is to be", or "to be is to do".



    3/ Xeroderma pigmentosa is a life-threatening, inherited skin disorder. Individuals are born without the ability to repair damage done to their skin cells by the ultraviolet light in sunshine. They rapidly develop skin crusting, scarring, and cancers. Affected individuals must avoid all sunlight, fluorescent light, halogen light, or any other source of ultraviolet light.



    4/ WHAT IS PORPHYRIA ?

    Porphyria is a fairly uncommon condition. It is not one condition, but a group of several related diseases. Most of these are inherited but some may be acquired. People with porphyria may develop skin problems or a condition known as the acute attack. In all the porphyria, the basic dilemma is that excessive amounts of porphyrins and their precursors accumulate in the body. It is under-diagnosed [my emphasis - Brian]. Many sufferers are completely asymptomatic. All living things, including healthy people produce porphyrins. In porphyria, there is an atypical accumulation of porphyrins as the result of enzyme defects; this results in illness. Our bodies convert two simple substances, 5-aminolaevulinate (ALA) and porphobilinogen (PBG) known as porphyrin precursors, into more complicated substances called porphyrins. These are then converted from one type of porphyrin to the next to form haem. Haem is a vital substance in our bodies. Protoporphyrin together with Iron are the building blocks necessary to make haem. Each step on the pathway is completed by a special protein known as an enzyme. In each type of porphyria, a specific enzyme is deficient, and this is why porphyrins accumulate

    The acute attack takes place when the levels of the porphyrin precursors become very much raised for one or other reason. One can think of this as an overloading of the body with porphyrins and their precursors. During such an attack, the affected person may experience abdominal pain, cramps, constipation, nausea or vomiting. They may also show marked anxiety or disturbed behaviour.

    Such attacks can be bad enough to require admission to hospital, and the most severe cases may go on to weakness and paralysis. People have even died of such an attack.





    LINKS:



    1/Xeroderma Pigmentosum

    http://www.emedicine.com/DERM/topic462.htm



    Pediatric Database:

    http://www.icondata.com/health/pedbase/files/XERODERM.HTM



    Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society, Inc.


    http://www.xps.org/





    2/ Erythropoietic Protoporphyria



    http://www.readersdigesthealth.com/kbase/nord/nord322.htm



    Erythropoietic Protoporphyria Research

    http://www.bwh.partners.org/cgi-view/homepage.py?dept_id=7298&rso_abbrev=bwh





    3/ Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia



    Support Society:

    http://www.hedfoundation.org/



    Medical classification and symptoms

    http://www.icondata.com/health/pedbase/files/HYPOHIDR.HTM



    Description from the National Organisation for Rare Disorders

    http://www.stepstn.com/cgi-win/nord.exe?proc=Redirect&type=rdb_sum&id=804.htm



    United States library of medicine

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/jablonski/syndromes/syndrome356.html





     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Brian!

    Thank you for the informative post!

    I vaguely recall hearing something like this long ago, but it had slipped my mind. There was a program on last night that featured a little girl with a severe allergy to sunlight, and it did make me wonder a little. Thank you again for the reminder. :)

    P.S. Have you got anything on lycantropy?
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Lol! Nothing on lycanthropy. :)

    I compiled that information once a while back, after meeting a girl online who stated herself as being a "Christian Vampire". So I looked into the issues of clinical vampirism. :)
     
  4. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    i wish someone would have brought this to my attention when we were doing vampires. Porphyria is intersting to me.
     
  5. florian

    florian Active Member

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    Thanks for the very thought provoking details.

    Clinical descriptions of vampirism can also be found in the annals of abnormal psychology. After I read your post I looked up 'Vampirism' in Krafft-Ebings 'Psychopathia Sexualis'( I always keep a copy handy) K-E says 'only 2 cases
    so far (i.e. 1886) have been scientifically studied.

    Case history 1 " A married man presented himself with numerous scars of cuts on his arms. He told their origin as follows: when he wished to aproach his wife, who was young and somewhat 'nervous', he first had to make a cut on his arm . then she would suck his wound and during the act become violently sexually excited."

    He describes other cases of blood-drinking and sadism which are far too disgusting to post but goes on to say "...this case recalls the widespread legend of the Vampires which is especially spread throughout the Balkan peninsula. Among the Greeks it has its origin in the myth of the lamiae and marmolykes; blood-sucking women."

    I note that this was written before Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' was published in 1897 though Sheridan Le Fanu published his 'Carmilla' in 1872.

     
  6. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I think among current folks who consider themselves to be vampires, there is a distinction between blood being tied up with one's sexuality (as in blood fetishes, like the late 1800s example cited), and what is perceived to be a physical need for blood. There seems to be a contingent of people who manifest certain negative symptoms (including extreme thirst, weakness, nausea, severe headaches, moody and aggressive feelings, sensitivity to sunlight and other forms of light) and feel the symptoms are relieved through blood-drinking and the more vague "energy-feeding." I am prepared to think that a small portion of these people have porphyria or another illness, but there are probably quite a few in which the symptoms are entirely psychosomatic.

    As for the historical causes of the vampire legends, there are probably multiple factors- the diseases Brian mentioned, as well as other issues. For example, in Europe a lot of the vampire mythology developed from people not understanding how the dead body decayed and natural processes. They would dig up corpses that showed little decomposition, or were bloated with gasses, or had staining of blood around the mouth, or receeding gums and skin around the fingers (which gives the impression of fangs and tooth/hair growth) and believe these things were vampires. When they staked a supposed vampire (who was always a dug-up corpse), they believed they were right about their assumptions because generally a large amount of blood would ooze out. Pretty much, they just didn't understand the natural process of decay, and this contributed heavily to the legends, along with certain historical figures, and diseases, as well as a seemingly common human preoccupation with eternal life, the dead's envy of the living, etc. Vampire legends occur all over the world with variations, but many commonalities, so they seem to be tied somehow to human fears and desires.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    i never thought of some of the legends coming from digging up a corpse & seeing it that way because they did not understand the natural decay...so they drive a stake in the heart.
     
  8. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    You people, and your scientific... links to Vampires.... Hmm
    *ponders*


    When you speak of God, or you speak of Angels, or Jesus, or Moses, or Buddah, or Mohammed or whaterver.... You don't link scientific curses and conditions that could make you in ways alike them.... So why with Vampires..... Also how can you go to the extreme of believing in a mighty powerful spirit force such as God, Satan, Buddah, Allah... whatever.... Yet laugh when people say there are such things a Vampires? I am, uhm not stating on record I believe there are... But, think about it in this view... Call someone an idiot or a fool for beliving in powerful creatures of the darkness.... Yet you then go around saying isn't this guy great? HE split the ocean into a pathway... or this guy walked on water.... this guy did this and did that an blah blah blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...

    *takes his cake an eats it.*
     
  9. FriendRob

    FriendRob Well-Known Member

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    THis issue was dealt with in The Straight Dope a wile ago: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a990507.html The bottom line is that there's no good reason to associate vampire legends and porphyria. (For one, drinking blood would have no effect on the disease, nor do porphyria victims crave blood.)
     

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