Thursday, November 30, 2023 – A family have been dubbed aliens after a bizarre condition left them with swollen and disfigured faces.
Out of twelve siblings in the family, five of them have been compared to aliens due to their wide-set eyes, overgrown cheekbones, nose bumps, and bad dental health. Their seven other siblings have not been affected.
Their conditions have left health experts baffled as to what has triggered the strange symptoms in Isaias, Graciosa, Preciosa, Antonio, and Miguelina Bautista.
The five have been this way since childhood.
The disfigurement has forced them to face mockery and cruel name-calling.
Isaias shared: “At one point, we even started to believe it.
“People would say that we were like that, extraterrestrials. Then later, we found good people who told us, no, you are human beings.”
In addition to their facial deformities, the siblings also suffer from headaches, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and body aches. They hail from a poor family in the small community of Jinova de San Juan, Dominican Republic.
Despite desperately needing jobs, they struggle to find work, as employers discriminate against them due to their appearance. They have also struggled to get a diagnosis for their condition, which medics suspect is leontiasis but have failed to give them a definitive answer.
Leontiasis, often referred to as lion face syndrome, is an overgrowth of the cranial and facial bones resulting in a lion-like appearance.
Neurologist Dr Franly Vazquez describes it as a “very rare disease of which fewer than 40 cases have been reported worldwide.”
He added that “affected patients have a buildup of calcium in the bones that form the face and skull.”
The unchecked growth of the Bautista siblings’ facial bones can severely compress nerves, leading to blindness, hearing disorders, intellectual disabilities, and other adversities.
In fact, Dr Vazquez believes it is incredible the siblings are still alive. He told local media:
“Unfortunately, there is no treatment to cure this disease; the treatment is aimed at improving symptoms.”
The only existing treatment involves exposing the overgrown bone, and chipping away pieces, or excising entirely where possible. The Bautista siblings are seeking donations as they battle for a diagnosis and treatment.