An eleven year old girl who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, was born with hypertrichosis. This is a genetic disorder that causes excessive hair to grow on a person’s face. Typically, children will pick on the differences that they see in others. However, Nat is happy, and has plenty of friends.
Supatra Sasuphan, who goes by the nickname Nat, lives in Bangkok, Thailand. She is eleven years old, and gets good grades at school. She enjoys singing, dancing, and acting, and shows a great deal of self-confidence. She is well liked by her peers. This, all by itself, is fairly remarkable for a child of her age. She is at the age where many kids become self-conscious as they go through what has been referred to as “the awkward stage”.
One would not necessarily expect an eleven year old girl who has been officially named “the world’s hairiest teenager” by Guinness World Records to be as self-assured as Nat. However, to Nat, this is something to be happy about. She told Guinness: “Being hairy makes me special”.
This might sound quite strange, until you realizes that Nat has hypertrichosis. It is a genetic condition that has also been called Ambras syndrome or “werewolf syndrome”. It is extremely rare. There have only been around fifty cases of hypertrichosis documented since the Middle Ages. At that time, people were truly fearful that people who had this disorder were actually werewolves.
The disorder causes a person to grow excessive amounts of thick, dark, hair on their face. It can also cause extra hair to grow on other parts of their body. Nat has thick hair growing on her face. The hair covers most of her face. It is easy to see why, in the Middle Ages, people who looked like Nat were mistaken for werewolves.
This disorder runs in families. In 1995, researchers learned that there was a specific location on the X chromosome where a mutation was located that caused a person to have hypertrichosis. The researchers were studying the DNA of a family in Mexico who had the disorder. The same mutation, on the same portion of the X chromosome, was also found in the DNA of a man from China who also had hypertrichosis.
It is believed that one day, a cure will be found for this disorder. Currently, the only way to deal with it is to remove the unwanted hair by means of a razor or wax treatment. Nat has had the thick, dark, hair that grows on her face removed by laser treatments twice. This is not a permanent solution, because the hair will grow back. Her hair is coming in thicker every year.
Nat is not letting this obvious difference in her appearance to slow her down. She continues to get good grades at school, and loves mathematics. When she grows up, Nat wants to become a doctor so she can help people who are sick or injured.
Image by eGuide Travel on Flickr