A Mystery Condition has Stolen this Young Woman's Youth

In a bizarre medical mystery that's like watching the life of Benjamin Button in reverse, a Vietnamese woman has appeared to age almost five decades in just three years after suffering an allergic reaction.

The photo on the left shows how 26 year old Nguyen Thi Phuong looked just a few years ago, before she experienced an extreme allergic reaction after eating seafood. Initially her face broke out in an itchy rash that had her scratching her skin all day and night. But when the medication her husband had bought her did nothing to alleviate the symptoms, she sought the advice of a local doctor who wrote her a prescription for what he assumed to be dermatitis.

And this is where things went from bad to worse. The dermatitis medication caused her face to swell, followed by hives appearing on her skin. After a week she stopped taking those meds and instead turned to more traditional treatments which did help reduce the swelling, but then caused her to gain weight. She eventually had to give up all of the treatments when she could no longer afford them, and in just three short years the skin from her stomach upwards aged dramatically, making her look like a woman some fifty years her senior.

Otherwise, Phuong is as healthy as any other woman in her late twenties. Her memory and internal organs are in great condition, and even her posture reflects her young years. Several doctors have speculated as to the cause of her unique condition, from medicinal poisoning to the overuse of Corticoid, a steroid hormone used to reduce swelling. Or that it's even a genetic disorder. But the head of dermatology at the Ho Chi Minh City University Medical Center believes Phuong suffers from cutaneous mastocytosis. A condition which can actually be treated with medicines and laser treatments to reduce the appearance of her wrinkles. But unfortunately the adverse effects of her condition can never be permanently reversed. We can't also eliminate the possibility that this is just an elaborate hoax, but besides fifteen minutes of fame, I don't see the angle. [AsiaOne Health via The Daily What]