Enjoy as we bring you some health happening on our September 2018 Health News Round up.
SPINAL CORD EPIDURAL STIMULATION LETS PARALYZED MAN WALK AGAIN
Scientists have enabled a man completely paralyzed in both legs to walk again. And this astonishing feat didn’t involve the help of an exoskeleton or robotic limbs, and no brain implants were required, making this a first for rehabilitation.
The patient was a 29-year-old man who had no motor (movement) function in his lower limbs due to a spinal cord injury sustained five years ago. He also lost sensation below his injury, although he could just about feel when his bladder was full.
Doctors in the US state of Minnesota implanted a remote-controlled electrode in the patient’s back to stimulate surviving nerves in his spinal cord.
Thanks to the groundbreaking surgery, Jered Chinnock, from Tomah, Wisconsin, was able to stand up and walk just over 100 metres – the length of an American football – while pushing a front-wheeled walker.
It was the first time Mr Chinnock had walked by himself since his accident on the slopes five years ago.
“It’s very exciting, but still very early in the research stage,” said neurosurgeon Dr Kendall Lee, who co-led the team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“The reason why this is important is because the patient’s own mind, thought, was able to drive movement in his legs. Just as important is that we were able to get him to stand independently and take his own steps.”
Mr Chinnock said: “The walking side of it isn’t something where I just leave my wheelchair behind and away I go.”
But the Wisconsin man said he was hopeful that he might one day be able to “leave the wheelchair behind, even if it is to walk to the refrigerator.”
Dr Lee explained that as soon as the remote-controlled electrode was turned off, Mr Chinnock became paralysed again.
The innovative technique used by the Mayo Clinic team, which was reported in the journal Nature Medicine, involved inserting an electrode in the epidural space – the fat-filled hollow region surrounding the spinal cord.
A battery was also implanted in the abdomen and was connected to the electrode via a wire hidden beneath the skin.
This and other mind-controlled prosthetics are offering a cybernetic solution for people suffering from paralysis and diminished mobility. Combined with regular advancements made in the field of stem cell research and biomedicine, paralysis may one day join the ranks of such physical ailments as polio, cholera, siphilus, bubonic plague, hepatitis A, and rabies in the dustbin of history!
MIRACLE’ RECOVERY FOR BOY AFTER MEAT SKEWER GOES THROUGH HEAD
A 10-year-old US boy is recovering after he was attacked by insects and tumbled from a tree, landing on a meat skewer that penetrated his skull from his face to the back of his head.
But miraculously, that’s where Xavier Cunningham’s bad luck ended. The skewer had completely missed Xavier’s eye, brain, spinal cord and major blood vessels, The Kansas City Star in Missouri reports.
Xavier’s experience began on Saturday afternoon when yellow jackets attacked him in a tree house at his home in Harrisonville, about 56km south of Kansas City. He fell to the ground and his mother, Gabrielle Miller, ran down the stairs when she heard screaming. His skull was pierced from front to back with 15cm of skewer still sticking out of his face.
Miller tried to reassure her son, who told her “I’m dying, Mum” as they rushed to the hospital. He eventually was transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital, where endovascular neurosurgery director Koji Ebersole evaluated the wound.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better,” Ebersole said. “It was one in a million for it to pass five or six inches through the front of the face to the back and not have hit these things.”
There was no active bleeding, allowing the hospital time to get personnel in place for a removal surgery on Sunday morning that was complicated by the fact that the skewer wasn’t round. Because it was square, with sharp edges, it would have to come out perfectly straight. Twisting it could cause additional severe injury.
“Miraculous” would be an appropriate word to describe what happened, Ebersole said.
Doctors think Xavier could recover completely.
“I have not seen anything passed to that depth in a situation that was survivable, let alone one where we think the recovery will be near complete if not complete,” he said.
The hours-long surgery was successful, and Xavier is expected to be released from the hospital in a matter of days.
“He could’ve bled to death in that field, covered in yellow jackets,” Xavier’s father said. “Only God could have directed things to happen in a way that would save him like this… it really was a miracle.”
Dubbing him the “Missouri Miracle” his family have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his medical costs.
EXPERIMENTAL BONE ENGINEERED BY LITHUANIAN RESEARCHERS CAN HELP OSTEOARTHRITIS PATIENTS
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.
Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.
Recently, researchers from the Faculty of Chemical Technology, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania are developing an artificial bone, which can be used for treating of the most common joint disease — osteoarthritis. The bi-functional composite imitates the complex osteochondral structure of a joint, i.e. both cartilage and bone tissues.
The World Health Organization says that around 10% of male and 18% of female population over 60 are suffering from osteoarthritis. The inception of the condition is associated with thinning of the cartilage due to age; on average, people over 55 feel pain in 4 joints. It is the most common inflammatory bone and cartilage disease in the world.
While common treatment for osteoarthritis is pain or anti-inflammatory medication available as pills, syrups, creams or lotions, KTU chemists are offering a novel approach, i.e. using a bi-functional scaffold as an implant compensating cartilage and bone defects.
“A lot of people are suffering from painful joints, and the majority of them have osteoarthritis. To create new composites for solving this problem is especially challenging — cartilage tissue is renewing itself at a very slow rate, and it forms a complex structure together with a bone,” says Simona Miseviciute, an applied chemistry undergraduate, who was conducting the experiment under the supervision of Dr Alisa Palaveniene.
The bi-functional scaffold, created at KTU aims to compensate defects of both cartilage and bone. Made of several different substances — hydroxyapatite, gelatine and chitosan — the scaffold imitates the complex osteochondral structure and functionality of the joint and fills the fractures of the two different tissues.
“Development of new scaffolds for regenerative engineering and implementing them in contemporary medicine is of utmost importance — to my knowledge, bi-functional scaffolds imitating complex osteochondral tissue currently are not used in medical practice,” says Miseviciute.
One of the components of the new composite is gelatine, a cheap product commonly used in culinary and cosmetic industry. This clear, hard and almost tasteless substance, obtained from animal collagen, is highly biologically compatible, biodegradable and has low antigenic properties; its modification possibilities are numerous.
The scaffolds were modelled by layering polymer combinations, and the porous structure of a scaffold was achieved by lyophilisation, i.e. freeze drying.
Elemental analysis, bio imitational mineralisation, degradability and water absorption of the composite scaffold were among the parameters measured during the experiment. The tests have shown that the samples were highly hydrophilic, which suggests functionality of the scaffold.
“To create bi-functional scaffolds for human bone engineering, interdisciplinary knowledge of chemistry, biology, pharmacy, anatomy is being used. The new research is aiming to solve most urgent problems of today’s ageing society. Although these experiments are just a beginning of a great endeavour, we are happy to be keeping pace with global tendencies,” says Dr Palaveniene.
MAN DIAGNOSED WITH WORLD’S FIRST HUMAN CASE OF RAT DISEASE; HEPATITIS E
A 56-year-old man in Hong Kong has developed a strain of hepatitis E that normally infects rats, marking the first time it has been transferred to humans, scientists say.
It has prompted fears that the virus could signal an impending outbreak in the Chinese city, which has been plagued by rodent problems due to long hot spells this summer.
The man was diagnosed after doctors found his liver was functioning abnormally following a transplant, which was prompted by a chronic infection of Hepatitis B.
Yet tests for the human form of hepatitis E wound up negative.
It was only when the virus was genetically sequenced that doctors found similarities with the rodent strain.
“This study conclusively proves for the first time in the world that rat HEV can infect humans to cause clinical infection,” the University of Hong Kong (HKU) said.
It is thought the man contracted the illness after eating food that had been contaminated by rat droppings. But after receiving antiviral treatment, he was cured.
“As of this stage we can no longer detect the virus in any clinical specimen,” said Dr Siddharth Sridhar, clinical assistant professor at HKU, at a news conference on Friday.
His colleague, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist at HKU, added: “We don’t know if in future there will be a serious outbreak of the rat Hepatitis E virus in Hong Kong.
“We need to closely monitor this issue.”
According to the World Health Organisation, the human version of the hepatitis E virus affects 20 million people globally each year.
There are four other types of hepatitis known to affect humans – A, B, C and D – and most can be spread by human bodily fluids and faeces. Hepatitis E is a major health threat in developing countries in Africa and Asia and in the past has been contracted from eating undercooked pork and deer meat.
Research published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2012 said there are types of HEV which could be caught from pigs, boars, deer, mongoose, rabbits and cattle, but at the time did not think it could be caught from rats or chickens.
FATALMONKEYPOX: UK’S FIRST CASE OF POTENTIALLY VIRUS IDENTIFIED
On the 8th day of september, 2018, the first ever case of monkeypox was recorded in the United Kingdom, after the rare viral infection was discovered in a Nigerian citizen staying at a naval base in Cornwall, Public Health England(PHE) announced.
The patient, who is thought to have contracted the virus in Nigeria before flying to the UK, was rushed to the infectious disease unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London on Saturday morning. Passengers who were on the same Nigeria-UK flight have also been contacted as a precautionary measure to monitor their health condition.
PHE stated that monkeypox does not spread easily, and most patients recover within a couple of weeks, but some people may suffer from a severe illness, with initial symptoms including fever, aching muscles, headache and backache, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion and chills.
Beyond that, some individuals may develop a rash, which usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of body and eventually falls off after forming a scab.
It is commonly a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 3 weeks.
According to the official guidance regarding monkeypox on the UK government’s website, the spread of the infection may occur when an individual “comes into close contact with an animal (rodents are believed to be the primary animal reservoir for transmission to humans), human, or materials contaminated with the virus.”
The infection is said to enter the body “through broken skin (even if not visible), the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).”
Since 1970, monkeypox cases have been registered in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Gabon and South Sudan.
In 2003, monkeypox cases were confirmed in the United States – the first documented case outside of the African continent. The outbreak occurred following importation of rodents from Africa, with cases being reported in both humans and pet prairie dogs.
Stay safe and stay informed about health happening around you. Have a positive health attitude.