MED­I­CAL BAG

More med­i­cal mar­vels and mis­ad­ven­tures, in­clud­ing vam­pire ther­apy, In­done­sia’s egg-lay­ing boy, and the dire re­sults of eat­ing slugs for a dare...

Fortean Times - - Strange Days -

Ak­mal, 14, from Gowa in In­done­sia, says he has been lay­ing eggs, and had squeezed out 20 from his rec­tum in the past two years. His fa­ther Rusli said: “I cracked the first egg and its con­tent was all yel­low, no white. A month later I cracked an­other one, and its con­tent was all white and no yel­low.” Ak­mal has been X-rayed, with his fam­ily claim­ing this is proof he is telling the truth. He has been re­peat­edly hos­pi­talised for his con­di­tion, and re­cently laid two eggs in front of doc­tors, who are nat­u­rally said to be “baf­fled”. A spokesper­son from the hos­pi­tal said: “Our sus­pi­cion is that the eggs were de­lib­er­ately shoved into Ak­mal’s rec­tum. But we did not see it di­rectly.” Rusli de­nied this. D.Mail on­line, 22 Feb; thaivisa.com, 26 Feb 2018.

Sant­lal Pal, a 31-year-old shop­keeper, had been car­ry­ing around a brain tu­mour weigh­ing 1.87kg (4lb 2oz) be­fore surgery in Mum­bai on 14 Fe­bru­ary. The tu­mour was so large that he ap­peared to have two heads mounted one on top of the other. “Af­ter the pa­tient re­gained con­scious­ness, we re­searched and con­cluded this was the world’s heav­i­est [brain] tu­mour to be re­ported so far,” said the hos­pi­tal’s head of neu­ro­surgery, Trimurti Nad­karni. “It was a rare op­er­a­tion and the pa­tient has sur­vived. Be­fore the surgery, he had min­i­mal vi­sion, which may im­prove now.” At the time of the re­port, Mr Pal was walk­ing and eat­ing nor­mally. The pre­vi­ous heav­i­est tu­mour to be suc­cess­fully ex­cised from a pa­tient who sur­vived the pro­ce­dure weighed 1.4kg (3lb). [AFP] 22 Feb 2018.

A new trial has found that pump­ing the blood of young peo­ple into the el­derly may help ward off the symp­toms of de­men­tia. Sci­en­tists tried out the so-called “vam­pire ther­apy” af­ter as­ton­ish­ing re­sults three years ago showed that in­fu­sions of young blood into older mice formed new blood ves­sels and im­proved mem­ory and learn­ing. For the new trial, 18 peo­ple over 65 with mild to mod­er­ate Alzheimer’s were given ei­ther four weekly in­fu­sions of plasma from peo­ple aged be­tween 18 and 30, or a placebo. Although the phase one tests were only de­signed to prove that the pro­ce­dure was safe, par­tic­i­pants re­ported a marked im­prove­ment in Alzheimer’s symp­toms. Pa­tients found it eas­ier to carry out daily tasks such as re­mem­ber­ing to take medicine, pay­ing bills or pre­par­ing meals.

Dr Sharon Sha, as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy at Stan­ford Univer­sity, who was the trial’s clin­i­cal lead, said she was not ex­pect­ing such early pos­i­tive re­sults. She said: “Our en­thu­si­asm con­cern­ing th­ese find­ings needs to be tem­pered by the fact that this was a small trial; but th­ese re­sults war­rant fur­ther study.” Many cul­tures have ex­tolled the prop­er­ties of youth­ful blood, with the blood of young war­riors drunk by the vic­tors. Sci­en­tists be­lieve that young blood is so po­tent be­cause it car­ries large quan­ti­ties of a pro­tein known as GDF111, which di­min­ishes as we age. D.Tele­graph, 5 Nov 2017.

A small elec­tric charge to a spe­cific nerve in a woman’s an­kle can help in­crease her sex drive. The nerve runs from the soles of the feet to the base of the spine, but is most eas­ily ac­cessed at the an­kle. It can be zapped with a tiny nee­dle, which then boosts blood sup­ply – ap­par­ently act­ing like a fe­male ver­sion of Vi­a­gra. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan are giv­ing vol­un­teer women a three-month course of weekly treat­ments last­ing half an hour. The aim is to help women who suf­fer with sex­ual dys­func­tion. (Queens­land) Courier-Mail, 23 Feb 2018.

A 23-year-old woman was ar­rested in Spain af­ter throw­ing pump­kin seeds in her for­mer lover’s face, know­ing he was al­ler­gic. She is said to have waited for him at the mar­ket where he worked in Castel­lon be­fore shout­ing “Take that, you son of a bitch!” She faced a charge of wound­ing while the man, 24, went to a health cen­tre for an in­jec­tion to stop his throat swelling and his body go­ing into shock. “Luck­ily I didn’t have my mouth open,” he said. Eve. Stan­dard, 30 Nov; Metro, 1 Dec 2017.

Abby Beck­ley had been work­ing on a salmon fish­ing boat in Alaska when her left eye be­came ir­ri­tated and she be­gan suf­fer­ing from a mi­graine. Af­ter five says she re­turned to port where she used a mir­ror to ex­am­ine her eye. In­stead of an er­rant eye­lash she pulled out a tiny, translu­cent worm. Sci­en­tists later re­vealed she had be­come the first per­son in the world to suf­fer an eye in­fes­ta­tion of a worm species pre­vi­ously seen only in cat­tle. It is spread by flies that feed on eye­ball lu­bri­ca­tion. Sci­en­tists at the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion said 14 translu­cent par­a­sitic worms of the species The­lazia gu­losa, all less than half an inch (1.27cm) long, were ex­tracted from the 26-year-old’s eye over a 20-day pe­riod, be­fore her symp­toms dis­si­pated. The case was writ­ten up in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Trop­i­cal Medicine and Hy­giene. D.Tele­graph, 14 Feb 2018.

Sam Bal­lard, 19, swal­lowed a gar­den slug for a drunken dare at a party in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, nine years ago. Un­for­tu­nately, the crea­ture in­fected him with a par­a­sitic lung­worm. This caused a brain in­fec­tion that left him quad­ri­plegic. Bal­lard, now 28, re­quires 24-hour care. Sun, 7 Mar 2018.

An army vet­eran be­lieved to be Bri­tain’s long­est-stay­ing pa­tient died last May af­ter 54 years at West Mof­fat Hos­pi­tal, La­nark­shire. James Mor­ris en­tered hos­pi­tal with a bro­ken leg in 1962 at the age of 21, but never went home af­ter suf­fer­ing a car­diac ar­rest on the op­er­at­ing ta­ble, which left him in a veg­e­ta­tive state. “Over the years we found a way to com­mu­ni­cate with him,” said his brother Philip Mor­ris, 62. “He was all there men­tally but couldn’t com­mu­ni­cate with us at all. He only ever learnt how to say three words again – his three loves – ‘home’, ‘pub’, and ‘horses’.” Metro, 2 May 2017.

Sis­ters Laura Knight, 38, and Philippa He­witt, 31, both gave birth to daugh­ters on the same day in West Suf­folk Hos­pi­tal last Novem­ber. Philippa gave birth to Emily, and five hours later Laura gave birth to Verity. Then in Fe­bru­ary, a brother and sis­ter be­came par­ents for the first time on the same day in the same hos­pi­tal. Frank Jones’s wife Lau­ren had daugh­ter Reeva at Princess Alexan­dra Hos­pi­tal in Har­low, Es­sex. In the next room, Frank’s sis­ter So­phie gave birth to Evie by Cæsarean sec­tion, 11 days late. D.Ex­press, 22 Nov 2017; Sun­day Peo­ple, 18 Feb 2018.

Sixty res­i­dents (in­clud­ing 16 chil­dren) of a vil­lage in South Africa were re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal af­ter eat­ing meat from a cow killed by a ven­omous co­bra. The vic­tims, from Mpoza near Tsolo on the East­ern Cape, re­ported symp­toms in­clud­ing diar­rhoea, vom­it­ing, headaches and se­vere stom­ach cramps. “We urge peo­ple not to eat car­cases they find in fields, on roads – wher­ever,” said a De­part­ment of Health spokesman. (Ade­laide) Sun­day Mail, 4 Feb 2018.

LEFT: You must be yolk­ing! 14-year-old Ak­mal and one of his eggs. BE­LOW: Sant­lal Pal and his gi­ant brain tu­mour.

ABOVE: The tiny, translu­cent worm re­trieved from Abby Beck­ley’s eye.

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