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23 Facts About Albinism You Might Not Be Aware Of

People with albinism are some of the least-well understood on the planet.[9] Plenty of myths abound about them, including that they are sterile,[3] a curse, and even that their body parts can be used as magical talismans. (Some uninformed people even believe that a child with albinism born to a black mother and father is the ghost of a former European colonist ).[1]

Check also: Albinos In Malawi At Risk Of Total Extinction

We’re happy to report that none of these are true.[10] Those with the albino disorder are virtually identical to people without it. The main difference obviously results in the lack of pigmentation, though some side symptoms include vision problems and higher susceptibility to the sun – both of which can be treated.[3]

albinism

Though people with albino disorder are often teased or ridiculed,[1] we’re here to try and change that. In this list, we dig into the scientific facts about albinism, including: Is it contagious? Do people with albino disorder die younger? and, what causes albinism? [6]As a genetic condition, albino disorder is equivalent to having blond hair rather than brown hair. [7]Despite the destigmatization of people with albino disorder which has started taking root, plenty of doubt and confusion exists around this disorder.

 Let’s sort this out in this list of 23 facts about Albinism.

1 – To sum it up,[2] albinism is genetic and thus is not contagious. And it doesn’t make anyone less of a person. It’s as genetic as having brown hair or blond hair, and we don’t think less of people with brown or blond hair,[8] so why should anyone think differently about a person with this kind of disorder?[4]

2- Currently, there is no treatment which can cause the body to produce melanin and lessen the symptoms of albinism.

3- Some lesser-informed men in East Africa – especially Tanzania which has the largest population of people with albinism in Africa – believe that the mother of an albino child was unfaithful with a white man or that the baby is the ghost of a former European colonist.[7]

4- Scientists can test if a parent has an albino gene by testing if a hair follicle produces melanin.

5- This disorder is most common in various groups of sub-Saharan Africa. Some evolutionary biologists argue that when we transitioned from primate to hominid and lost most of our hair,[9] the skin below the now-non-existent hair would have been pale. People who produced more melanin (and thus had darker skin) are thought to have had an evolutionary advantage.

6- Related to albinism is a skin condition called vitiligo where only some parts of the skin lose their pigment. [10]Notable people to have vitiligo include the late Michael Jackson and America’s Next Top Model contestant Winnie Harlow.[1]

7- One of the most severe types of albinism is known as Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome. [4]People with this variation are prone to bleeding,[6] bruising, and lung disease.

8- To be born with albino disorder, a baby must have defective genes from both its parents. [12]If the baby inherits one normal and one albinism gene, [13]enough melanin will be produced by the normal gene

9- Around 1 in 70 people carry one albinism gene. If both parents carry this gene, there is a 25% chance the child will be born with the disorder.[5]

10- In some cultures, albino animals are highly regarded. Native Americans, for example, [2]would revere white bison as symbols of power and good luck and ensure they were not harmed.

11- Albinism can occur in any vertebrate in the animal world as well.[6]

12-People with albinism face persecution and bullying all over the world. [2]Some of this comes from beliefs that they are cursed or that their body parts have magical powers when used by witch doctors.

13- One in 17,000 people have some form of albinism gene. [5]Though it affects the sexes equally, males are more likely to have ocular albinism: a lack of pigment in the eyes.

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