Neurofibromatosis, which was first discovered in 1882 by Von Recklinghausen, is a genetic disease which mainly affect the skin, nervous system, bones, eyes and possibly other organs. The effects can vary from individual to individual. Neurofibromatosis type 1, which is more frequent in the population, has an estimated of one case per 3,000 people . It affects all races and both sexes, with half of the cases presenting a family history, while in the other half the disease emerged as the result of a new mutation. It is believed that at least one million individuals worldwide are living with it.
Joseph Carey Merrick (pictured above) born on August 5 1862 in Leicester, England. He's best known as The Elephant Man. Joseph Carey Merrick was by all accounts a healthy child at birth. However, by the age of 5, he had developed patches of lumpy, grayish skin, which his parents attributed to his mother having been frightened by a stampeding elephant during her pregnancy. As Merrick grew older, he developed more severe deformities, until head and body were covered with various bony and fleshy tumors. Despite these infirmities, Merrick had a relatively normal childhood and attended the local school.
Some symptoms of Neurofibromatosis are flat, light brown spots on the skin,
Freckling in the armpits or groin area,
Tiny bumps on the iris of your eye,
Soft bumps on or under the skin,
Tumor on the optic nerve (optic glioma),
Larger than average head size,
Small benign skin tumors,
And many more.
Neurofibromatosis can't be cured, but treatments are available for your signs and symptoms. The sooner you or your child is under the care of a doctor trained in treating neurofibromatosis, the better the outcome. Your doctor might recommend surgery or other procedures to treat severe symptoms or complications of neurofibromatosis. Managing pain is also an important part of treatment so your doctor might recommend pain pills.