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Tennessee woman grows fingernails instead of hair

August 12, 2012 7:54:43 AM PDT
A medical mystery: An allergic reaction to medication leaves a Tennessee woman with nails growing where hair should be.

Shanyna Isom suffers from a mysterious illness that is causing nails to grow out of theTennessee woman's face. The illness came on after she suffered an allergic reaction to steroids used to control asthma.

Now, Isom is the focus of a medical mystery study at the famed Johns Hopkins Hospital. Pictures show the tiny fingernails growing in patches on Isom's body. Doctors say she produces 12 times the number of skin cells per hair follicle and that suffocates her skin.

Isom's physicians are able to control her symptoms, but the disease is still a mystery.

"They've tested me from A-to-Z," said Isom. "Everything was coming back negative...Everywhere hair grows, nails are growing."

Isom's mysterious illness has caused a financial crisis. She has a quarter of a million dollars in medical debt and her insurance doesn't cover her out-of-state care or a dozen medications she needs to stay healthy. Friends and family members have hosted fundraisers to help pay down the debt.


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