Every once in a while, a medical oddity catches the attention of medical experts from all over. Some conditions end up being so rare, that very little is understood about it or very, very few people in the world are ever written down in the record books for it.
In adults, a tumor is the most common cause of too much GH production: Pituitary tumors. Most acromegaly cases are caused by a noncancerous (benign) tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland. The tumor produces excessive amounts of growth hormone, causing many of the signs and symptoms of acromegaly.
Adam Rainer (1899 – 4 March 1950) was the only person in recorded history to have been both a dwarf and a giant . He is believed to have had acromegaly.
Adam’s parents were both of average height. When World War I broke out in 1914, Adam enlisted in the army. At this point Adam was only 4 feet 6 inches tall. Because of his height, doctors classified him as a dwarf and therefore too weak to be a productive soldier. They thought that he would be a liability rather than a useful addition to the army.
Despite being refused entry into the army, Adam remained determined to serve. A year later, Adam had grown a further 2 inches in height and again enlisted to join the army. He was again rejected on the basis of his height.
Dwarfism is generally characterized as a height of 4 feet 10 inches and below. At the age of 19, Adam was only 4 feet 8 inches tall. He was therefore still classified as a dwarf.
His medical records also show that he was very thin. However, despite being very short and thin Adam had abnormally large hands and feet. His hands measured 23.9 cm (9.4 inches).
It has been recorded that at the time Adam first tried to enlist in the army he wore shoes that were an EU 43 (US 10). His shoe size had doubled to an EU 53 (US 20) by the time he tried to enlist in the army the second time. This was an abnormally large shoe size for a man of his very short height.
At the age of 21 when most people stop growing, Adam began growing at an alarming rate. In 1932 when Adam was aged 33 he had reached the height . Alongside his extreme growth spurt Adam also developed a severe spinal curvature.
Doctos discovered he was suffering from a condition known as acromegaly.
His was caused by a tumour on his pituitary gland which led to an overproduction of growth hormones in his body. This was the reason behind his strange appearance, for Rainer didn’t just have abnormally large hands and feet. He also had a protruding forehead and jaw, as well as thick lips set over widely-spaced teeth
The two doctors decided to operate despite believing the chances for success were small given the fact that the tumour had been growing for over a decade. A few months after surgery, Rainer was measured again. His standing height had remained the same, though his spinal curvature was more severe, indicating that he was still growing, albeit at a much slower rate.
Rainer’s health continued to deteriorate. He went blind in his right eye, and began suffering hearing loss in his left ear. Over time, his spinal deformity became so pronounced, Rainer was confined to bed.
When he died in 1950 (age 51) he had reached a height of 234 cm (7 ft 8 in).