Friday, 25 July 2014

Indian boy has 232 teeth removed

Indian boy has 232 teeth removed
July 23, 2014 5:23 PM

Ashik Gavai is seen here after the operation, with the teeth that were removed
Doctors in India have extracted 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy in a seven-hour operation.

Ashik Gavai was brought in with a swelling in his right jaw, Dr Sunanda Dhiware, head of Mumbai's JJ Hospital's dental department, told the BBC.

The teenager had been suffering for 18 months and travelled to the city from his village after local doctors failed to identify the cause of the problem.

Doctors have described his condition as "very rare" and "a world record".

'Small white pearls'

"Ashik's malaise was diagnosed as a complex composite odontoma where a single gum forms lots of teeth. It's a sort of benign tumour," Dr Dhiware said.

Ashik Gavai's teeth were put on display by doctors after the operation

The teenager had to endure seven hours of medics pulling teeth from his mouth

It was all smiles from the medical team after the operation
"At first, we couldn't cut it out so we had to use the basic chisel and hammer to take it out.

"Once we opened it, little pearl-like teeth started coming out, one-by-one. Initially, we were collecting them, they were really like small white pearls. But then we started to get tired. We counted 232 teeth," she added.

The surgery, conducted on Monday, involved two surgeons and two assistants. The team was led by Dr Vandana Thorawade who heads the hospital's ENT (ear, nose and throat) department. Ashik now has 28 teeth.

Describing Ashik's case as "very rare", Dr Dhiware said she had "not seen anything like this before in my 30-year career", but said she was "thrilled to get such an exciting case".

"According to medical literature available on the condition, it is known to affect the upper jaw and a maximum of 37 teeth have been extracted from the tumour in the past. But in Ashik's case, the tumour was found deep in the lower jaw and it had hundreds of teeth."

Ashik's father Suresh Gavai was quoted by the Mumbai Mirror as saying that his son complained of severe pain a month ago.

"I was worried that it may turn out to be cancer so I brought him to Mumbai," he said.

BBC © 2014

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Footballers need concussion care

Footballers 'need concussion care'
July 14, 2014 2:06 AM

Uruguayan defender Alvaro Pereira appeared to be knocked unconscious in a World Cup match
Decisions on whether a footballer can return to the pitch after a head injury should be taken by an independent doctor, and not the player or coach.

An editorial in The Lancet Neurology says these decisions should not be made "by those with a vested interest".

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has called for an investigation into concussion protocols.

This follows incidents during the World Cup where footballers played on after appearing to be concussed.

"Because signs and symptoms of concussion can be delayed, removing an athlete when there is any suspicion of injury would seem to be the safest approach," the journal editors wrote.

They refer to a recent World Cup group match against England, when Uruguay's Alvaro Pereira returned to the pitch after appearing to be knocked unconscious by a blow to the head.

Pereira admitted to arguing with his team doctor, demanding that he should be allowed to continue playing.

Pereira argues for his return to the pitch following his head injury
The editors make the point that the decision on the player's "fitness to play" should not have been left in the hands of the Uruguayan team doctor and team officials.

Instead, "return-to-play decisions should be made on an individual basis", they said.

In the World Cup semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands, Javier Mascherano stumbled about and then collapsed on the pitch after clashing heads with a Dutch player.

Despite appearing to suffer concussion, the Argentinean midfielder returned to the fray just minutes later.

'Wrong message'

Fifa has been criticised for failing to deal with the incidents safely, by ensuring that the players were immediately taken off the pitch and removed from the game.

While many sporting organisations now recognise the potential damage that mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause, the writers said more needs to be done to reduce how often these injuries occur.

Improving the assessment, monitoring and care of adults and children with sports-related concussion should also be a priority, it states.

Mr Antonio Belli, reader in neurotrauma at the University of Birmingham, said players don't understand how dangerous concussion can be.

"When players return to the pitch and continue playing, they are sending out the wrong message. There are lots of medical reasons not to continue."

The long-term consequences of mild traumatic brain injuries can include dementia and other neurological degenerative diseases.

Headaches and dizziness can appear in the short-term.

BBC © 2014

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Malaria parasite hides in the bone

Malaria parasite 'hides in the bone'
July 9, 2014 6:02 PM
By Helen Briggs
Health editor, BBC News website

Mosquito with parasite sucking blood
Parasites infected with malaria can hide inside the bone marrow and evade the body's defences, research confirms.

The discovery could lead to new drugs or vaccines to block transmission.

The research, published in Science Translational Medicine, fills a "key knowledge gap" in the biology of the disease, say scientists at Harvard.

Carried by mosquitoes, the parasite causes the most severe form of malaria, which leads to more than 500,000 deaths every year globally.

The study found that malaria-infected parasites could bury into bone marrow, where they escaped the immune system and caused disease.

The idea that they hide in the bone marrow while they mature has been around for decades.

But a team led by Prof Matthias Marti, of the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, pinpointed exactly where the parasites found sanctuaries in bone marrow by analysing tissue samples from autopsies.

"We have confirmed that the parasites that cause malaria can hide in the bone marrow," he told BBC News.

The discovery was "exciting" because it identified "a key knowledge gap in the biology of the parasite", he added.

The hope is that this may help scientists devise a way to target parasites hiding out in bone marrow with new drugs or vaccines.

The most recent figures from the World Health Organization suggest malaria killed more than 600,000 people in 2012, with 90% of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.

BBC © 2014

Forgotten us smallpox found in box

'Forgotten' US smallpox found in box
July 8, 2014 8:20 PM

Long forgotten vials of smallpox left in a cardboard box have been discovered by a government scientist at a research centre near Washington, officials say.

The virus, believed dead, was located in six freeze-dried and sealed vials, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is said to be the first time unaccounted-for smallpox has been discovered in the US.

The disease was officially declared eradicated in the 1980s.

"The vials appear to date from the 1950s. Upon discovery, the vials were immediately secured in a CDC-registered select agent containment laboratory in Bethesda, [Maryland]," according to a CDC statement.

"There is no evidence that any of the vials labelled variola has been breached, and onsite biosafety personnel have not identified any infectious exposure risk to lab workers or the public," the statement added.

Government agencies were notified of the discovery on 1 July, after National Institutes of Health (NIH) employees discovered the vials labelled "variola", also known as smallpox.

The vials were located in an unused area of a storage room in a Food and Drug Administration laboratory on an NIH campus in Bethesda.

The vials were subsequently transported to a secure facility in Atlanta, Georgia, on 7 July.

The smallpox vials were transported to a secure CDC facility in Atlanta, Georgia
Tests will be conducted on the material to determine if it is viable before it destroyed, the CDC said.

The virus may remain deadly even after freeze-drying, though is it typically kept cold to remain alive.

The CDC also notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of the discovery. The WHO currently oversees two designated repositories for smallpox; one in Atlanta as well as one in Novosibirsk, Russia.

It is the not the first time vials of smallpox have been unexpectedly discovered. Several were found at the bottom of a freezer in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, according to media reports.

BBC © 2014j

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Human corneas regrown in mice

'Human corneas re-grown in mice'
July 2, 2014 17:08
By Smitha Mundasad
Health reporter, BBC News

Limbal stem cells in the eye have the capacity to re-generate
Scientists have developed a new technique to regrow human corneas.

Using key tracer molecules, researchers have been able to hunt down elusive cells in the eye capable of regeneration and repair.

They transplanted these regenerative stem cells into mice - creating fully functioning corneas.

Writing in the journal Nature, they say this method may one day help restore the sight of victims of burns and chemical injuries.

Limbal stem cells (LSC) are crucial for healthy eyesight - these cells work to maintain, repair and completely renew our corneas every few weeks.

Without them the cornea - the transparent outermost layer of the eye - would become cloudy and our vision disrupted.

A deficiency of these cells due to disease or damage through injury to the eye are among the commonest reasons behind blindness worldwide.

But the cells have so far been extremely difficult to identify, buried in a matrix of other structures in the limbal part of the eye - the junction between the cornea and the white of the eye (the sclera).

'Fluorescent flags'

Now scientists from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System have identified a key tracer molecule - known as ABCB5 - naturally present on the surface of limbal stem cells.

Though ABCB5 has been known about for some time in other parts of the body, this is the first time it has been spotted on LSCs, helping to single out these elusive cells.

Researchers have been able to tag these cells with fluorescent molecular flags.

In their study, the scientists used this tagging technique to instantly identify a pool of LSCs on donated human corneas.

After being transplanted to mice, these cells were able to generate fully functioning human corneas.

Prof Markus Frank, of Boston Children's Hospital, a lead author in the research, told the BBC: " The main significance for human disease is we have established a molecularly defined population of cells that we can extract from donor tissue.

"And these cells have the remarkable ability to self-regenerate. We hope to drive this research forward so this can be used as a therapy."

Harminder Dua, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Nottingham, who was not involved in this study, said: "This paper represents a very comprehensive and well conducted piece of work that takes use closer to the precise identification of stem cells.

"Applying this knowledge to a clinical setting could help improve the outcomes for patients who need corneal reconstruction."

BBC © 2014