It”s genuinely rare these days to come across a so-called “medical miracle.” Yet back in the early 1900s, the case of Adam Rainer”s strange and miraculous growth stunned physicians. Rainer is the only person in recorded history to have been both legally a dwarf and a giant.
Rainer was born in Graz, Austria, in 1899. He was a normal, healthy child by all accounts. Despite being born to parents of normal height, by the time that World War I broke out, Rainer stood at just 4 feet, 6 inches. Recruiters told him he was too short and weak to join the army.
Everything changed for Rainer by the age of 21. Over the next 10 years, Rainer (who was 4″10″” at the time) would grow to an astonishing 7″1″ by the time he turned 31. It was also during this time when Rainer began to develop severe curvature of the spine.
Rainer”s growth spurt took the medical community by surprise. Doctors examined Rainer to try to determine the source of his wild growth. The conclusion they reached was that a tumor on Rainer”s pituitary gland was leading to an overproduction of growth hormones. Here you can see Rainer”s height compared to a normal-sized man.
In an attempt to cure him of his uncontrollable growth, physicians operated on Rainer”s pituitary gland to remove the tumor. They were only partially successful. He was still growing, but now at a much slower pace.
Rainer continued to grow for the remainder of his life, but was plagued by numerous health problems. Eventually, the curvature of his spine become so bad that he was confined to his bed. Rainer also became blind in his right eye, and suffered hearing loss in his left ear.
Rainer passed away at the age of 51 and at a height of 7″10″. He is the only person in human history who has been able to call himself a dwarf and a giant in the same lifetime.
(via The Chirurgeon”s Apprentice)
The case of Adam Rainer is certainly a curious one. It goes to show that there”s at ton we don”t know about the human body. We are all capable of some pretty wonderful things.