THE FIRST REAL-LIFE BIONIC WOMAN, PLUS A CREATIVE COMPULSION CAUSED BY A STROKE, ON "PRIMETIME: MEDICAL MYSTERIES," SEPTEMBER 9 ON ABC
From a woman who undergoes an experimental surgery that results in a revolutionary prosthetic arm to people whose strokes have resulted in astonishing creative surges -- turning them into poets and painters -- tomorrow's "Primetime: Medical Mysteries" reports on some of the strangest conditions known to medicine. The "Primetime" limited series examines cases that leave scientists and doctors with unanswered questions in trying to explain the human body. "Primetime: Medical Mysteries" airs TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
First: Claudia Mitchell looks like an average twentysomething college student; in reality she's anything but. Four years ago she lost her left arm in a motorcycle accident and refused to live the rest of her life without it. "Primetime" reports on how she decided to undergo an experimental surgery that would make her, in a sense, the first real-life bionic woman. John Qui�ones talks to the doctors who performed the procedure that re-awakened her nerves. She now controls a computerized robotic arm with nothing but her thoughts.
Then: Bob Brown reports on a woman in England who has spent her life looking for an answer to what her condition is all about. Mandy Sellars' upper torso is a petite size 8 and accounts for only 70 to 80 pounds of her 285 body weight. Her right foot alone is 16 inches long and 7 inches wide. Sellars discovers her condition is a rare disorder called Proteus Syndrome, but doctors worry that she may eventually need to amputate her legs.
And: Imagine going through life without leaving a trace - literally having no fingerprints. To a thief it might sound like a dream -- but it's reality for people living with a rare form of what's called Ectodermal Dysplasia. Deborah Roberts reports on the syndrome that leaves people with not only fingertips as smooth as porcelain, but no sweat glands and varying effects on their hair and teeth.
Also: How could a relatively common occurrence like a stroke unleash an unceasing and uncontrollable burst of creativity? From a chiropractor who becomes a painter whose work sells for thousands to a blue-collar worker who becomes a poet and can't stop writing, Bob Brown reports on people who experience this creative compulsion and what causes it.
The hour will also feature a medical mystery designed for viewer participation. This segment, entitled "You Be the Doctor," allows viewers to assess medical clues and vote online or by text messaging their diagnosis as the show progresses. In this week's case, a young woman's rash progresses to cover her entire body -- could it be chicken pox? Poison ivy? And will it kill her before they can diagnose it?
Ann Reynolds and Terry Wrong are the senior producers of "Primetime: Medical Mysteries." Rudy Bednar is the executive producer.