Friday, August 8, 2008

The Tree Man

He lost his job, his wife left him with two kids and to make ends meet he has to appear in a local freak show. He is, "The Tree Man".

An Indonesian fisherman named Dede fell and cut his knee when he was a child, from that moment on life would be pretty rough. He began to develop tree root-like growths from his hands and feet. First they were annoying, but they grew so large that soon he was unable to carry out simple chores. Eventually the crusty welts had spread all over his body, baffling local doctors and making Dede the subject of ridicule, to many of the locals.

Now, American dermatologist, Dr Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland, thinks he has identified the cause and possibly, has a cure. Dr. Gaspari contends that Dede's growths are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. Most of us have danced with HPV at one time or another, it's what causes warts. Apparently, Dede has a genetic defect that prevents his immune system from keeping the warts reigned in. In essence, the virus commandeered his skin cells and tricked them into producing these wicked appendages.

Dr. Gaspari thinks there is a very good chance he can help Dede. Through daily doses of synthetic Vitamin A, the warts should reduce in size and number within a few months. He won't be back to normal, but he will be able to use his hands again. A little further down the road the "cutaneous horns" on his hands and feet could be surgically removed and the more resilient wart patches could be frozen off.

Dede just wants to live to see his grandkids, and now, thanks to Dr. Gaspari and good old vitamin A, he just might get to.

No comments: