Have you ever seen a skeleton that looks like this?
I’m sure you’d all agree that it’s pretty odd and quite disturbing…
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive or ‘the stone man syndrome’ (its common name) is a rare, inherited disease that is manifested through a mutation of the body. The connected tissue represented by ligaments, tendons and muscles is affected, resulting in an abnormal growth of the bones which constitute the skeleton into the elements mentioned earlier. Therefore, movement becomes harder and harder until the person affected lacks this ability completely. Even the simple tasks such as eating or breathing come to constitute a challenge for the ill.
Dying in 1973 at the age of 40, Harry Eastlack was one of the few people who suffered from Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive. He ‘turned into stone’ almost completely, being able to move nothing except his lips in the last period of his life. With all this he contributed immensely to the research in the area by donating his skeleton for science examination. His mutilated bone frame can be found in Philadelphia, at the Mütter Museum, where it’s exposed to visitors all over the world. Although scientists got pretty far in analysing the causes of the disease and in trying to search for a potential treatment, nothing has been proven to work so far.