The Rare Condition Big Ed From 90 Day Fiance Lives With

Edward Allen Brown, better known as "Big Ed," is a star of TLC's popular show "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days." The reality television series follows couples who have applied for or received the government's K-1 visa and intend to marry within 90 days in order to stay in the United States. The 57-year-old reality TV star has been open about his rare condition, Klippel-Feil Syndrome, on the show. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Klippel-Feil Syndrome is a rare disorder that affects the bones in the neck or cervical vertebrae. 

The bone disorder is characterized by the irregular joining, or fusion, of 2 or more spinal bones in the neck. Typically, those with the disorder are born with it, but there are cases that aren't diagnosed until years later once symptoms form or worsen. Because the rare condition affects the bones near the spine and neck, people with the disorder will experience other side effects of Klippel-Feil Syndrome in those same areas. MedlinePlus reports people with the skeletal condition may also have restricted movement in the neck, a short neck, and a hairline that appears lower on the back of the head.

Cause of Klippel-Feil Syndrome

In most cases, the cause of Klippel-Feil Syndrome is unknown and the condition appears randomly. However, there are cases where the condition is tied to genetics. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, in 2008, researchers concluded the mutations of the GDF6 gene found on chromosome 8 were the cause of some cases of Klippel-Feil Syndrome. How these mutations of the GDF6 gene are involved with all symptoms of the condition is still unknown. The condition occurs in about one in every 42,000 to 50,000 births and affects females more than males.

Brown has been open about his own experience with Klippel-Feil Syndrome, saying he's been bullied his entire life for his looks. Brown told Entertainment Tonight that he has a limited range of movement and a larger chest cavity, both features he was bullied for during school and still today. He says now all he can do is laugh at the hateful comments, adding it's OK to be different, but bullying is unkind.