Xeroderma pigmentosum. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. It is is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder of DNA repair in which the ability to repair damage caused by ultraviolet light is deficient. What this means is that this rare congenital disorder keeps skin cells from repairing the damage done by UV light (think, the sun). Such conditions make exposure to sunlight dangerous and forces its sufferers to lead isolated lives, primarily indoors.
The typical symptoms (as per the Wiki) include:
* An unusually severe sunburn after a short sun exposure. The sunburn may last for several weeks. The sunburn usually occurs during a child’s first sun exposure.
* Development of many freckles at an early age
* Irregular dark spots on the skin
* Thin skin
* Excessive dryness of skin
* Rough-surfaced growths (solar keratoses), and skin cancers
* Eyes that are painfully sensitive to the sun and may easily become irritated, bloodshot, and clouded
* Blistering or freckling on minimum sun exposure
* Premature aging of skin, lips, eyes, mouth and tongue
* Crusting skin
The saddest aspect is that 40% of XP sufferers die under the age of 20. There is no known cure and little awareness has been given to this problem.
Recently, several prominent members of the New York Yankees were seen playing, throwing baseballs and having a grand time at 2:30 am in Yankee Stadium to both draw awareness to this problem and to provide the opportunity for 2 dozen kids . . . to be kids.
Dr. David Orman