Blue-skinned family baffled science for 150 years2/24/2012
MOST INFORMED COMMENT] A look back at our first week.
Twenty minutes after we published the below on the blue-skinned family, Bob Fugate commented, claiming to be Martin Fugate's great-grandson. A sample from the (lengthy) family history he graciously shared with us:
The Blue Fugate comes most often when a Fugate marries a Smith and they have unique genes, which have been well documented and written about many times. It is not all because of inbreeding, there were not great roads and automobiles in the early 1800's, and the logistically problems were usually done by a horse or mule, so one could not travel to far to find love, so the term "kissing cousins" comes from the hills, most often closer than second cousins comes into play.
Remember when a despondent Kermit the Frog sang "It's not easy being green"? He and Martin Fugate should've had a beer. In 1820, the blue-skinned Fugate settled in Kentucky, where he passed the trait to four of his kids, who had their own blue babies. The family was a medical mystery for more than 150 years until, as ABC News reports, it "was solved through modern genetics and the sleuth-like energy" of the late Madison Cawein III. Dr. Cawein discovered that "The Blue People of Troublesome Creek," as researchers referred to them, had a genetic condition called methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder that results in blue-tinged skin.
What medical mysteries intrigue you?