If there’s one thing that helps the study of medicine and biology progress, it’s the exception to the rule. Those cases that break away from the norm tell researchers, scientists and doctors so much about how our bodies work because they provide a point of comparison and contrast to the expected scenario.
New series The World’s Most Extraordinary People introduces us to some of the truly unique people whose rare conditions are key to the medical discoveries of the future. Hosted by Dr Gabriel Weston from Michael Mosley: Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, the British series has implications for people the world over.
The very first case in the first episode is that of a young Russian-born girl whose heart formed outside her rib cage and can be seen beating through her skin. Unable to withstand an operation to relocate it, she lives her life knowing that a fall or knock could prove deadly. In other episodes, we meet a girl with two hearts and a man whose bones are as strong as granite.
A man who can run for hundreds of miles without stopping, another who feels no pain and yet another who has shattered free diving records due to his ability to hold his breath for extended periods of time. These are just some of the super-human skills you'd expect to see in movie adaptations of comic books, but are all incredibly real.
Following a bump to his head, a man we are introduced to in episode three woke up able to play the piano like a virtuoso. Dr Weston also reveals the story of the only man in the world to be completely cured of HIV and the mother who became pregnant with twins in two separate wombs.
Watch The World's Most Extraordinary People on SBS Australia, Monday 9 October at 8.30pm