The show struck a chord with television audiences, I think, because we all live in bodies -- we're all wondering if that little ache or that strange sound in our neck could "be something." Perhaps, if you're not in the medical field, some of the syndromes and conditions in this book will seem, well, impossible. Who would guess there could be seizures set off by music alone? Who would think that people who seem completely normal, who have entirely normal vision, might be simply unable to "see" human faces? Did you know that some people are born with their internal organs backwards inside them? Or that a particular form of paralysis strikes only first-time surfers? And another can be set off by eating a pizza? And what kind of medical problem would make a man look as though he was turning into a tree, with "roots" and "bark"?
We're the ones who got to find out and tell you about these incredible things. But as fascinated as we all were by the exotic conditions and inventive medical treatments, the more stories we looked into, the more we realized: these stories were powerful because they happened to people. Normal, ordinary people who live through symptoms they've never expected -- and normal, ordinary doctors who painstakingly unravel diseases and struggle to give their patients relief and, perhaps, even cure them.
All the patients and doctors involved in Medical Mysteries were kind enough to let us into their worlds and take us on their journeys. Most of them did it so that people out there with the same set of problems will know that there's a diagnosis and, of-ten, treatment available to them. It was a privilege to put their experiences in front of the public. As you read through the book, as you picture all the scans, all the tests, all the questions, all the symptoms -- you may end up like our team at ABC News did: just flat-out amazed. With billions of cells and processes and checks and balances inside our bodies --systems we ignore as we read the paper and go to work and drop the kids off at a playdate -- be amazed that it doesn't go wrong more often. Be amazed at how lucky most of are every day -- every healthy day.
-- Ann Reynolds
Medical Mysteries Are Fascinating Scientific Puzzles -- you watch some of the smartest, most intuitive people on Earth, in world renowned medical centers, track down the tiny genetic problem or microbe that has wreaked havoc in a human body.
And then there are others that tug at you further -- like the story of the "tree man."
It sounded almost like a fable when we first heard of it: a man in a remote area of Indonesia who seemed to be turning into a tree. Over the course of many years, his face, body, and especially his hands and feet, seemed to become more and more covered with what looked like bark and roots. Was it a medical condition, an exotic syndrome that no one had ever heard of? Was he even real?
ABC News has a reporter based in Jakarta, Margaret Conley, and we asked her to investigate. She set off into the heart of Indonesia. Her report? It was all true, and it became one of the most fascinating cases we'd ever covered, and one that spoke not only to our curiosity about Dede Koswara's medical issues, but to what it means to be able to see past surface appearance to the human being underneath.