A teen in Scotland suffers from an extremely rare medical condition in which contact with static electricity can cause her brain to shut down, meaning that the simple act of brushing her hair could kill her.
The condition that Megan Stewart, 13, suffers from is called hair brushing syndrome. Her condition became known in 2008 one day while she got ready to go to school in Wishaw, central Scotland. Sharon, her mother, recalled “I was brushing her hair in the living room when she flopped over and her lips turned blue. I thought she was having a fit, which she’d never had before, so we called the paramedics. It was really scary.”
The concerned parents learned of the syndrome, which causes vital organs to shut down from static, from doctors at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital for Sick Children. The condition is thought to be a result of complications at birth. Sharon Stewart sufferred from pre-eclampsia prior to giving birth and Megan weighed just 2 pounds, five ounces when she was born.
“When we comb her hair, we have to lay her down and cover her head with water to stop any static building up. She can’t rub balloons on her head at parties, and she can’t wear any shiny clothing,” the girl’s mother explained.