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Showing posts with label Unusual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unusual. Show all posts

Friday, 14 February 2020

Young woman born without her half brain has above-average reading skills

Eighteen years ago, a young woman was born without part of her brain (the entire left hemisphere) but still has above average reading skills. Note that the left hemisphere is generally the part of the brain used in the field of language. She also has a slightly above average IQ.

Brain scans (which assess cerebral perfusion using complex molecules labeled with technetium-99m, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier) revealed that the young woman had more brain tissue involved in reading than what is usually found in the majority of individuals. Tests of her brain activity indicate that the right side of her brain has taken over some of the functions that the left hemisphere usually does, showing that the organ has adapted to compensate for the missing tissue.

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The parents of the young woman, known here as C1, noticed that something was out of the ordinary when she was 7 months old. Indeed, most babies stop clenching their thumbs with their fists around this age, but C1 continued to do so with his right hand. It was when C1 was 10 months old that a scintigraphy revealed that there was a pocket of liquid where the left hemisphere of his brain should have been.

C1 has been diagnosed with hemi-hydranencephaly, an extremely rare disease in which a large part of the cerebral cortex is missing. To date, only 9 cases have been reported worldwide.

At the age of 14 months, C1 was enrolled in a research project: a team of scientists, based at the University of Chicago, followed her progress until she was 16 years, as well as those of 64 other children with a brain said to be normal (full) and 40 children who had had a stroke in the weeks before or after birth.

Brain compensation that increases over time

Their linguistic, reading, spatial and mathematical skills were tested every four months until the age of almost 5 years. At first, C1's language skills were below average compared to developing children of the same age, and her vocabulary was severely limited. But she has improved over the years and developed average oral skills by the time she was 4 and a half years old.

Then, his vocabulary and syntax also improved. Approaching her fifth birthday, C1 had caught up with her peers: "In the performance of most tasks, she was in the normative average when she entered primary school," explained Salomi Asaridou of the University of Oxford, which studied the development of C1.

But C1 did not stop there: it also excelled in other areas. Indeed, when, between 5 and 7 years old, the researchers tested her ability to recognize and reorganize sounds into words, C1 even surpassed her peers! She also achieved exceptional reading results and was "in the upper range, and was significantly better than the group showing typical development," adds Asaridou.

In addition, according to the researchers, C1's language skills do not seem to have developed at the expense of other cognitive skills . Her IQ is in the “medium to high” range, and she has typical spatial skills. C1 is exceptionally good at short-term memory tests, which involve, for example, remembering sequences of numbers.

Scientists were able to learn more about her brain through brain scans. When she was 14, they used functional MRI (fMRI) to study her brain activity while she was listening to stories. Asaridou and his colleagues then compared the results of C1 with those of 30 developing children, generally aged 12 to 14 years.

"C1's pattern of activity looked like what we saw in the left hemisphere of typical developing children," says Asaridou. This proves that the right hemisphere of C1 has adapted to assume some of the functions usually managed by the left side, like language processing for example.

A second series of scans, taken at the same age, revealed that his brain had more white matter (the tissue that connects regions of the brain and allows them to communicate) than what is usually found in a human brain. More precisely: C1 has more white matter in the regions known to be involved in language skills, ranging from sound mapping to articulation through reading.

An extremely rare case

"C1 is a rare case in people with hemi- hydranencephaly," says Asaridou. Among the other known cases, only two of the six people tested had no language development problems.

Asaridou and the other researchers think that his environment could have helped him: C1's family is easy, so that his parents could afford, from an early age, to provide her with physical and oral therapies. In addition, C1 has a (younger) brother who is also particularly good at language testing, "which suggests there may also be a genetic factor," says Asaridou. "But these are just speculations. This is a complicated case with a unique contribution from different factors”.

At present, C1 is still having difficulty moving the right side of his body, but according to the team that follows him, she seems to be doing well in life in general and has passed her school exams.


Thursday, 28 November 2019

Following a radiograph of the hips, doctors find that the penis of a patient is literally transformed into bone

The human body is a very complex machine ... Sometimes strange things can happen and we discover it by accident. This is particularly the case here: a 63-year-old man went to a New York emergency department for left knee pain after falling ill. Leaving the hospital, the man ended up with an alarming and rare diagnosis: ossification of the penis.

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The doctors found this case extremely rare when they performed a radiograph of the pelvis, in order to look for signs of bone fracture. But instead, they spotted a bone-like calcification in a most unexpected place ...

Calcium salts have accumulated in soft tissues and have hardened to form an "extended plaque" along the penis stem, as you can see on the radiograph below:

Credits: Hasbani et al./Urology Case Reports, 2019

Except for some pain, the patient has no other symptoms of this condition in the form of discharge or swelling. According to the doctors, ossification of the penis can cause a loss of flexibility and also cause erectile problems. But before the doctors could do further examinations, including to determine the cause of this ossification, the man decided to leave ignoring all the medical advice he had received from the doctors ...

Known that penis ossification was first described in humans in 1827. However, it remains rare, with fewer than 40 cases documented so far.

The most common cause is Lapeyronia Disease, a fibrosis affecting the penis. Ossification may also be due to trauma, end-stage kidney disease or other diseases that cause excess calcium in the body.

Georges El Hasbani of the American University of Beirut and his colleagues, explain the treatment of penis ossification in their case report, published in the journal Urology Case Reports. "The treatment of penis ossification depends on the extent of body ossification and the patient's symptoms."

Credits: Hasbani et al./Urology Case Reports, 2019

The case involving an uncomfortable acute pain or mild chronic pain can be managed with oral analgesics, topical agents, intralesional injections, mechanical stretching or vacuum devices, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy. Serious cases of extreme chronic pain or erectile dysfunction are usually treated surgically," they added.

Ossification of the penis is usually seen in older dogs, however, dogs already have a bone in their penis at first. In fact, this is the case for most mammal species.

Doctors explain that: "The human body is able to form bone tissue or cartilage in places affected by pathologies, when connective tissue is present. Bone tissue is known to form even in places that have nothing in common with the skeleton, including the mammary gland, salivary glands and testicles".


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Two daily cleaning products have generated toxic fumes in a restaurant, killing an employee

The manager of a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant died after being exposed to toxic fumes generated by blending two common cleaning products. Other employees (more than a dozen) were also affected by the toxic releases.

On Thursday, November 7th, an employee of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington, Mass., Began cleaning the back of the restaurant with a common cleaner called "Super 8". The incident occurred shortly thereafter.

The solution of Super 8 is based on sodium hypochlorite, a disinfectant and bleaching agent (used especially in the form of bleach). Its unique use does not represent a danger. However, unbeknownst to the employee, another acid-based cleaner, the Scale Kleen, had been spilled on the floor shortly before, according to NBC News .

A deadly mixture

Blending the two chemicals produced a substance that "turned green and started to bubble," said Michael Patterson, Burlington Fire Chief.

The first exposed employee quickly developed eye burns and began to experience breathing difficulties. He then left the premises. The restaurant manager then took over, trying to scrape the mixture, but he too developed severe symptoms, making him unable to continue.

The manager, Ryan Baldera, 32, died shortly after at the hospital, according to the local newspaper NBC Boston . Thirteen other people, also exposed to toxic fumes, were taken care of.

The chemical accident occurred at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington, Massachusetts (United States). Credits: Google Street View

Common cleaning products can be dangerous or even deadly when mixed incorrectly. For example, bleach can react with ammonia, acids and other cleaners. The resulting reactions can give rise to potentially life-threatening toxic fumes.

Responsible potential: chlorine gas

When bleach is mixed with acid (such as vinegar or chemicals found in some window cleaners, drains and toilet bowls), chlorine gas is produced. Exposure to chlorine usually causes irritation of the eyes, throat and nose, causing coughing and breathing problems. Moreover, it should be known that due to its toxicity, the dichlore was one of the first combat gases used during the First World War.

At high concentrations, chlorine gas can cause severe breathing difficulties and fluid production in the lungs. At very high concentrations, a deep emanation can cause death.

A team specialized in dangerous substances was convened to treat the premises of the restaurant, which was temporarily closed by the city. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also investigating the accident.

Source1 Source 2

Sunday, 27 October 2019

A lab worker accidentally injects a virus associated with smallpox into her finger

An employee of a laboratory accidentally injected the vaccinia virus into her finger. | Whitehouse ER / MMWR 2019 / CDC

An employee at a laboratory in San Diego, USA, accidentally injected the vaccinia virus (a virus associated with smallpox) into one of her fingers. The infection resulting from this accident caused the swelling and blackening of the finger, which took more than three months to heal.

According to the report relaying the accident, this case is quite unique, as this is the first time that doctors have used tecovirimat (a recently approved smallpox medication) to treat this condition. laboratory-acquired infection with vaccinia virus.

It should be known that the vaccinia virus is similar to the smallpox virus. However, vaccinia is less dangerous and does not cause smallpox. Moreover, vaccinia is the virus used to make smallpox vaccine: a global vaccination effort involving this vaccine led to the eradication of smallpox worldwide in 1980.

Although the vaccine is no longer widely used today, doctors prescribe it to people at risk of exposure to smallpox or similar viruses, such as scientists who work with the vaccine virus ( in research contexts, vaccinia virus can be used as delivery vector for gene or anticancer therapies).

But in the case described in this article, the female lab worker, a 26-year-old woman, involuntarily stabbed herself with a needle while performing an experiment forcing her to inject vaccinia virus into mice. . She immediately rinsed her finger with water for 15 minutes, warned her superiors and went to an emergency room.

Although the laboratory worker had the opportunity to receive the smallpox vaccine before starting work on vaccinia, she refused the vaccination. It is important to note that this smallpox vaccine has more side effects than most commonly offered vaccines today. Indeed, unlike most vaccines, which use weakened or killed viruses, the smallpox vaccine contains live vaccinia virus.

As a result, a few days after receiving the vaccine, people are expected to develop red and itchy lesions at the vaccination site. After that, the lesion turns into a large blister filled with pus. While the vaccination site is healing, it is necessary to cover it with a dressing that should be changed about every three days. Finally, a crust forms on the blister and falls, leaving a small scar. The whole healing process takes about three weeks. So it's not just a trivial vaccine.

An employee of a laboratory was accidentally infected with a smallpox-related virus: vaccinia virus. In this image, the detail of the employee's finger wound during the days and months following the accident. Credits: Whitehouse ER / MMWR 2019 / CDC

However, it should also be noted that despite these uncomfortable side effects, the vaccine has a very low risk of serious complications. On the other hand, accidental injection of vaccinia virus during laboratory work can lead to serious wound infections, which may require hospitalization.

In the case of this employee, about 10 days after the accident, she developed swelling and injury where the needle had planted. Later she had a fever and the swelling got worse. At that time, doctors feared she was developing a " lodge syndrome ", a serious condition characterized by excessive pressure inside a muscle.

Twelve days after the accident, the doctors decided to treat the woman with tecovirimat for 14 days, with a single dose of vaccinia immunoglobulin, which consists of an antibody from individuals already vaccinated against the disease. The woman also received antibiotics to prevent a bacterial infection of her wound.

According to the report, it was after 48 hours of treatment that his fever disappeared and the pain and swelling of his finger decreased. Nevertheless, areas of necrotic tissue (either dead) on her finger have not fully healed for more than three months, and she has not been able to get to work during this time.

When asked why she had not initially agreed to take the smallpox vaccine for prevention, the laboratory employee stated that at the time she "  did not understand the extent of the consequences that the 'infection could cause  '. In addition, the latter thought that it would be difficult to manage the lesion of the vaccination site and was worried about possible side effects (mentioned above).

Also according to the report, in this particular case, tecovirimal has been used safely to treat a vaccinia virus infection . However, "  as this is only one case, it is unclear whether the drug would be justified for other infections with this virus, " the authors said.


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