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