Memphis, TN – Shanya Isom has a rare skin condition which causes fingernails to grow on her head instead of hair. In 2009, Isom had an adverse reaction to asthma steroid medication which caused her skin to darken, bumps to develop on her legs, and fingernails to grow on her head. Doctors are unable to diagnose the disease that causes Shanyna Isom’s skin follicles to spur nail growth and not hair, according to the Huffington Post.
Isom’s Memphis doctors have attempted a multitude of treatments to stop the criminal justice student from growing nails on her head without success. Shanya Isom has undergone rounds of medication designed to help eczema and staph infections without any improvement.
Desperate to find out why fingernails were growing on her head, Isom underwent tests at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Doctors discovered that Shanyna’s hair follicles were creating a dozen times as many skin cells as hair cells. The treatments which began at John Hopkins improved the young woman’s quality of life at least slightly.
“They’ve tested me from A to Z and everything was coming back negative. I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t walk. Now I can walk with a cane and sometimes I can walk on my own,” Shanyna Isom told WAFB.
Isom’s medical bills to attempt to diagnose and treat the fingernails growing on her head have already reached at least $250,000. Shanyna has to take 17 medications a day to prevent increased nail growth on her head; her state-issued insurance card covers just five of the medications, according to the New York Daily News. Shanyna Isom believes she is the only person in the world who has fingernails growing on her head and has created the S.A.I. Foundation to raise money her own medical bills and to help others who could eventually suffer from the same nail growing condition.