Half Man Half Tree

Source:  Half Man Half Tree    Tag:  structure of hpv virus
Dede a 35 year old man from Indonesia has an extraordinary skin condition. Following an accident when he was 15, his body began growing roots, much like those found on a tree. Initially, these ‘roots’ appeared on his leg, then his arms and feet, and now they grow all over his body at the rate of 5cm or so every year.

Over the next few years the roots growing all over Dede led to him being sacked from his job as a fisherman. His wife left him, and Dede was forced to take work in a freak show in order to support his two children. As his condition became more debilitating even this proved difficult and so his children went to live with relatives.


Dr Anthony Gaspari, a world expert in dermatology, from the University of Maryland travelled to Indonesia in order to attempt to diagnosis Dede’s mysterious condition. He took skin samples for biopsies back in the USA and now believes he may have identified Dede’s condition as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in conjunction with a rare genetic fault.


He believes that Dede’s genetic fault impeded his immune system sufficiently to allow the virus to change his cellular structure to the point of growing tree-like roots, known as ‘cutaneous horns’. Dr Gaspari believes that, whilst Dede will never be fully cured, a course of Vitamin A in association with several operations may allow him regain some functionality in his limbs.

Since February Dede has had 4 operations that have given him increased mobility, allowing him to write and eat by himself. It is expected that Dede will have another 3 or 4 more operations in an attempt to give him as normal a life as possible.