'Stranger Things' Actor Reveals Rare Genetic Condition | NBC4 Washington

'Stranger Things' Actor Reveals Rare Genetic Condition

People with the condition can be anywhere from 3 to 6 inches shorter than other members of their family and may have shorter fingers, flat feet, knocked knees and an abnormal curvature of the spine

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    Actors Gaten Matarazzo, left, and Caleb McLaughlin attend the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Matarazzo opened up about a rare genetic condition he has.

    It appears actor Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson on the hit series “Stranger Things,” has more in common with his on-screen character than fans may have known.

    Matarazzo, speaking on “The Jonathan Ross Show,” a British chat show, revealed he has a rare genetic condition known as cleidocranial dysplasia.

    "It's a condition where you're born without your collarbones — I don't have any," Matarazzo said. "It affects your facial growth, your skull growth, it affects your teeth. So that's why I don't have any — these are fake. I have teeth, but they're all baby teeth. I need a lot of surgery."

    According to the Genetics Home Reference, the condition impacts roughly one in a million people worldwide.

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    People with the condition can be anywhere from 3 to 6 inches shorter than other members of their family and may have shorter fingers, flat feet, knocked knees and an abnormal curvature of the spine.

    Cleidocranial dysplasia can also decrease bone density, which can lead those with the condition to develop osteoporosis at a relatively early age. It can also delay the loss of baby teeth and the appearance of adult teeth, experts say.

    "I have a really mild case and a lot of people have it much worse than I do," Matarazzo said.

    He noted that he hopes incorporating his disease into his "Stranger Things" character will help raise awareness and “let people know it’s not something they should be afraid of showing.”

    Matarazzo had earlier opened up about his condition in an interview with People Magazine, saying he’s had a few mouth surgeries so far.

    He noted there’s one “cool” part to having cleidocranial dysplasia, and that’s that he can move his shoulders in unique ways.

    "People are like, 'Well you can do these cool things with your shoulders,'" he said in the interview. "That part's cool about it."

    Matarazzo said being open about his condition has shown him that he can help others with similar diagnoses.

    "The feedback has been great," he told People. "A lot of people were messaging me saying, 'You made me feel better about myself, that you can show that you have this condition on TV and embrace it.' I feel like I'm raising awareness for it. It makes me feel good."