Self-Mutilating Behavior

Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome—aka LNS—causes self-inflicting damage. It’s a rare genetic disorder causing people to chew their own face, fingertips, and lips off.

What is it?

Lesch Nyhan Syndrome—or LNS—is a rare genetic disorder in which uric acid is overproduced and the person suffering experiences neurological and behavioral abnormalities. It’s found almost exclusively in males, although females can also carry the gene but without experiencing any of its symptoms. People with this syndrome lack HGPRT, an enzyme responsible for recycling the purines in your body, leading to an overproduction of uric acid, or the waste product found in your blood and urine.

Where is it located?

This disorder was first discovered in 1967 by Michael Lesch and William Nyhan. It affects one in every 380,000 males across all populations of the world.

How will it kill you?

Due to the excess of uric acid caused by LNS, the body’s joints will start swelling and causing pain while walking or sitting. As the condition progresses, it leads to more severe symptoms such as gouty arthritis and kidney and liver stones. Another frightening feature it causes is self-destructive behavior. People with Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome experience jerky movements and a flailing of the limbs, while others have also been known to chew off their own fingertips and lips! When death occurs, it’s usually due to renal failure or complications caused by hypotonia.

How to survive:

Because it’s a genetic disorder, there is no cure for Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome. Treatment is merely symptomatic. Gout medications may be taken to lower uric acid levels, but this does NOT improve the person’s irregular behavior. Certain medicines may also be taken to relieve some of the symptoms associated with LNS such as Diazepam, Phenobarbital, Carbidopa, and Haloperidol.


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