‘Second skeleton’: Woman’s rare disease turning muscle tissue to bone

A 23-year-old woman is gradually losing the ability to move her limbs as a rare genetic disease turns her muscle tissues and connective tissues into bone. Jasmin Floyd, of Danielson, Connecticut, was diagnosed with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) 18 years ago and has been developing what can be described as a second skeleton ever since, The Washington Post reported.

“It was the hardest, darkest time of our lives,” RoJeanne Doege, Floyd’s mother, told The Washington Post. “We were helpless. There was nothing we could do. It was going to take on a life of its own.”

Floyd’s parents noticed she was born with a bunion on her big toe, and that she was developing small bumps on her head and spine. Although a bump on an infant’s big toe is a hallmark of the disease, at the time, doctors told Floyd’s worried parents that they were harmless osteomas. But as Floyd aged, her joints became stiffer and harder to move, The Washington Post reported. By age 7, she couldn’t rotate her shoulders, and had to relearn how to switch on lights and turn water faucets.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, symptoms of FOP become noticeable in childhood, beginning around the neck and shoulders. Later, FOP causes difficulty speaking and eating, which can lead to malnutrition. Patients may also experience issues breathing as extra bone forms around the rib cage and restricts lung expansion. Only several hundred cases of the disorder have been reported, as it afflicts approximately 1 in 2 million people worldwide.

“As I got older, I…

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