Monday, February 18, 2008

Syndromes 2: Blue Ears & Eyes

Alkaptonuria. This recessive condition affects one in a quarter million people- and makes their ears and eyes slowly turn blue. Sweat is dark brown, and so is ear-wax!

Interestingly the urine starts off as a normal color, but after a few hours exposed to the air it turns brown. Many cases are diagnosed in infancy with dark brown staining of their diapers.

Unfortunately, it is not all fun and games. Tendons, ligaments and heart valves also become pigmented- then calcified- causing severe arthritis and heart valve blockages.

Similar pigmentation can occur with the cardiac drug Amiodarone and the antibiotic Minocycline.

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