Rare condition makes scalp look like brain
This man has cutis verticis gyrata, a rare condition characterized by folds in the scalp.
October 19th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Rare condition makes scalp look like brain

This is not a photo of a brain bulging out of someone's head.

Doctors reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that they diagnosed a case of a rare condition called cutis verticus gyrata, which causes the folds in the scalp to form - specifically, "ridges and furrows resembling the brain's surface," write Dr. Karen Regina Rosso Schons and Andre Avelino Costa Beber of Hospital Universitario de Santa Maria in Brazil.

These scalp changes started showing up two years before doctors saw the 21-year-old patient. He didn't display symptoms of neurological or psychiatric conditions, but he did have intellectual or learning impairment.

Doctors did not attempt an intervention because "the patient had no associated disorders and the condition did not bother him cosmetically."

After a year, the patient's presentation of his condition was the same, according to the report.

soundoff (1,001 Responses)
  1. Terri

    This condition may be rare on earth, but on Klingon it's very common. Is he adopted? Just curious...lol

    October 19, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      Actually the Klingon home world is called Kronos

      October 21, 2012 at 02:26 | Report abuse |
  2. Yokohama

    It is a shame that so-called doctors didnt insist he treat scalp or his parents/guardian didnt do more it said he had learning issues and wasnt completely functioning so sad human sharpe like the dog with rolls of skin

    October 19, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ScienceNerd

      Why would they treat something that it doesn't sound like he wants treatment for?

      They can treat all kinds of things but if you refuse treatment, of course they wouldn't do anything. (and the learning disabilities are irrelevant to the disease afaik and likely couldn't be fixed anyway)

      October 19, 2012 at 21:40 | Report abuse |
    • donna

      Doctors can't insist on treating adults with capacity against their will. And, do you know what the treatment would have been and what the potential side effects would be?

      October 20, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • gale

      Shar Pei

      October 21, 2012 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
  3. MERV

    This condition doesn't seem to be so rare here in Phoenix. I have noticed quite a few hispanic men here that have it. I often wondered what it was.

    October 19, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nealjt@yahoo.com

      Are they sure that's not caused from fat cells? The phrase fat head comes to mind.

      October 19, 2012 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I saw it several times in Phoenix as well. This poster is not being racist.

      October 19, 2012 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
  4. Deine Lakaien

    "This man has cutis verticis gyrata, a rare condition characterized by folds in the scalp."

    He also has (cute) very tiny ears. I'm curious if with hair grown out the condition is even noticable. Hopefully he is not judged for the condition – we place such a precedence on appearance. I imagine that if it doesn't present any health concerns that it might actually be beneficial – to have a little cushion between the scalp and cranium.

    October 19, 2012 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CurmudgeonTx

      He could be one of the first stars in the new helmet-less NFL...

      October 20, 2012 at 02:53 | Report abuse |
    • Brian from Chicago

      Good catch – those are really tiny ears...

      October 21, 2012 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
  5. tone7de

    I am so glad to see this article...I have seen that before and it is good to know the name for it.

    October 19, 2012 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jez

    Wow. What a through, informative article – Not. What is the bloody point of such a useless article??

    October 19, 2012 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kwame zulu shabazz

      this is the future–tweet journalism. kzs

      October 19, 2012 at 20:11 | Report abuse |
    • crazycatman

      The purpose is to give dorks like you something to whine about. If you don't like the article, don't read it - and certainly don't comment on it. Go back down in your mom's basement and continue playing WoW.

      October 20, 2012 at 00:06 | Report abuse |
  7. Confused

    @Merv. I think you may be right, I've seen several men with that condition, but not as severe. Usually overweight darker-skinned men have those lumps in the scalp. I'm glad this article told me what it was.

    October 19, 2012 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply

    Everybody has something strange about them, physically. Sometimes, it's extreme ( missing limbs).
    Sometimes, it's the model -I'm not perfect syndrome. Go on through life, young man, make it a great, fun life
    in spite of the brainy look.

    October 19, 2012 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Vivian

    Alien! 🙁

    October 19, 2012 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kelsang

    My cousin brother has this condition, but only mildly, with few ridges. No impairment. In fact, he's a brilliant philosophy student and a private translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    October 19, 2012 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Perhaps becuase he's your "cousin brother"....just saying...

      October 19, 2012 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • Troll

      technically wouldent that make him your cousin 2 @ kelsang ohhh idiot!

      October 19, 2012 at 23:45 | Report abuse |
    • lookitupidiots

      cousin brother (plural cousin brothers)
      (India, Pakistan) A male first cousin.

      Bill and Troll: Just because someone says something differently doesn't make them an idiot, it makes you one for not simply googling it and expanding your knowledge.

      Kelsang: Well done to your cousin brother for being a translator for his Holiness.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  11. Larry

    hat cures all

    October 19, 2012 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Chris

    He's part shar pei!

    October 19, 2012 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jah

    Human x Shar-Pei

    October 19, 2012 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the Original Hinduism Source.......)

    Oh for a second, I though White House released Osama's picture.

    October 19, 2012 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ryan

    Spray paint your head gray, and BAM you got yourself a Halloween costume!

    October 19, 2012 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Duck Duck Goose

    If you put syrup on your head, it'll fix this. And the donkeys will be happy.

    October 19, 2012 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Will


    October 19, 2012 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sam

    This looks more like the skin of a human Sharpee.

    October 19, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. el-mundo

    Good luck shaving that head

    October 19, 2012 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. ben

    another display of God's Wisdom designing the Universe.

    October 19, 2012 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Shane

    I got an easy fix..An Iron and some starch. Get those wrinkles out in no time!

    October 19, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. BlackDynamite

    His scalp has mildew

    October 19, 2012 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply

    This isn't like all THAT rare, when I was in the Army I knew 5 guys with it, three black guys, and two white guys, but I never had the ballz to ask what it was. LOL

    October 19, 2012 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Scot

    Take it Literally when someone offers to F*** Your Brains OUT !

    October 19, 2012 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Colorado Vet

    Come on CNN, you're supposed to be a news network. How is this news? That was a statment "Dude, check out this guy's head" not a report.

    October 19, 2012 at 23:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NewYork


      October 20, 2012 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
  26. Name JECKEL

    Nasa could hire this person and simply take pictures of his head and tell the world it's the latest pictures of the surface of uranus, taken by the hubble telescope

    October 20, 2012 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sir Isaac Newton

      Maybe uranus, but not mine.

      October 20, 2012 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
  27. NutJob

    Most men have this condition on their ballsack.

    October 20, 2012 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Arrakis

    Personally, I think it's kinda hot. 🙂

    October 20, 2012 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. NewYork

    If he grows an afro..... he'll be fine. Nobody will notice.

    October 20, 2012 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. mikey

    I'm just jealous of how much hair he had.

    October 20, 2012 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. jada

    And I just thought it was callec fat head or meat head

    October 20, 2012 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. anon

    This is not rare, I've seen it a bunch in the military. It's called fat head.

    October 20, 2012 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Colony

    There was a Shel Silverstein book that had a poem about a guy who shaved his wavy hair only to discover he had a wavy head. I guess he had cutis verticus gyrata.

    October 20, 2012 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. iminim

    Rare condition? As a practicing doctor I have seen this several times in the local African American population. It might be present in the caucasian population but due to hairstyle preferences it could be less obvious. None of the men ever complained about it. They said it had been present for years. I don't remember any of them having significant mental impairment.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • addendum

      Well I'm African American, I have it (milder case) and I HATE it. I'll probably become severely depressed if I go bald.

      I wish the medical community would look towards answers instead of saying "I guess that's just the way life is."

      January 3, 2013 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
  35. Pro Death

    Now if these brain looking conditions made people smarter we should give this condition to our politicians!

    October 20, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. MIT

    Why he didn't grow out his hair is beyond me

    October 20, 2012 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Lindalou

    I expected more of a story here...this is kinds of a 'why bother?' type story. What's next? Ingrown toenails?

    October 20, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. cateyes

    i have seen a trauma surgeon with thhis on the 'discovery fit and health' channel. he showed nothing less than being brilliant

    October 20, 2012 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Brian from Chicago

    This is not quite as rare as the reporters seem to think. I have seen a number of soldiers with this condition and they were all both cognitive and healthy.

    October 21, 2012 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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      October 23, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
  40. Montag

    I had a coworker with this condition. He had a buzz cut. He was hilarious and a very cool guy. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but definitely not impaired. I doubt it's actually rare, and I question whether it warrants classification as a "condition".

    October 21, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Yesenia

    Im sorry I find this gross looking :O

    November 8, 2012 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Neto

    Thanks for posting CNN. I have that condition since at least 15 years ago. It started as a bulge in the lower part at the back of my head, just above the neck. I was 30 years old and slowly gaining weight. The folds arrived at the top of my head about 10 years ago and i asked my doctor about it, Hchecked the folds with his hands and applied pressure and then asked me if it hurt? I said no pain. So he didn't do anything about it. And i thought. It probably was just some weird fat deposits. I gained more weight and now all my scalp has folds. My Dr. still doesn't know what it is. I am worried that now, it will drop down to my face. I will try to lose some weight and hope it goes away. Currently i have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and diabetes type 2, i am 265 lbs ans 5' 6" talll. About 100 lbs overweight. I am a supervisor at a waste water treatment plant. And i am a reddit addict too. Thanks. ppl.

    May 29, 2014 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ni59

    Don’t think it’s rare... I see so many in Texas

    August 26, 2019 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
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