Some days ago I wrote a post with a question for those of you that like movies…
Here is the answer…Porphyrias.
Porphyrias form a group of rare diseases that result as a consequence of disorders of the synthesis of Hem group. Unfortunately. patients with porphyria are frequently misdiagnosed, and when the diagnosis is made, sometimes it occurs after months or years of looking for help.
Porphyrias are in normal life, as infrequent as frequent they are in movies.
In the movies included in the question, there are characters inspired (or allegedly inspired) by patients with Porphyria.
Imaging a patient very pale, whose teeth are pink, whose urine is frequently red, that can show some psychological abnormalities, that interact very few with the neighbors, …only seen at night, and that develops blisters in the skin when exposed to the sun…imaging also that this kind of patients, in a very ancient time, could have been assisted by healers that recognized in their pallor the same sign showed by persons that have lost a lot of blood, imaging that the healers recommended this kind of patients to drink fresh blood from animals for treatment of the pallor and weakness… Too much imagination? What does this description remind you?… Maybe this?
Different authors have related the legend of vampires with some of the signs of the unfortunate patients suffering of porphyria.
We will discuss soon these and other issues that have made porphyrias the common factor that links vampires, King George, Vincent Van Gogh, Gaston Leroux’s character in Phantom of the Opera, and the children in the movies “The others”.
Do not forget to return soon to see the series “Porphyrias in the movies”.
Certainly you will learn some trivia, but I hope that you will also learn important issues that can help you to do the diagnosis in these unfortunate patients and to help them to avoid their pilgrimage through numerous physicians until they find that doctor that recalls this Biochemistry topic!