Archive for January, 2015


Friday, January 30th, 2015

The front view X-ray that shocked Dr Ghofran Ageely.

An unexpected sighting of SpongeBob SquarePants gave a radiologist in Saudi Arabia quite a shock.

Dr Ghofran Ageely at King Abdulaziz University Hospital had X-rayed a 16-month-old boy who had been taken to hospital after it was thought he’d swallowed something.

Ageely told Live Science the first X-ray she saw was the side view, which showed a thin object in the toddler’s throat which she thought was a pin or hair slide.

The side view, which made Dr Ageely think the foreign object was a pin.

She then checked the front view X-ray and got a shock to see SpongeBob staring right back at her.


“I screamed! I was amazed by the visible details. You can see his freckles, shoes and fingers…AMAZING,” said Ageely.

The SpongeBob figure turned out to be a necklace pendant that belonged to the boy’s sister, and doctors managed to remove it from his esophagus without any complications.

Ageely then shared the images on, so they could be discussed by other medical professionals and students.

Managing editor of Radiopaedia, Dr Andrew Dixon, says while they get a lot of interesting X-rays on the sight, the SpongeBob one is unique.

“We see a lot of amazing X-rays on our site, but this one is particularly amazing,” said Dixon.

He told Live Science the features in SpongeBob’s face are distinctive because they are made from raised lines of metal rather than just paint.

While the SpongeBob pendant is out of the ordinary, Dixon said young children often swallow or inhale foreign objects.

“As a father, I know kids put things in their mouth all the time. But as a radiologist, we see this not infrequently,” said Dixon.

While coins, bobby pins, and marbles, are some of the many things children put in their mouths, some things they swallow can be dangerous.

In 2012, parents were issued warnings after a grade 2 student from Sydney swallowed magnets the children were using as fake piercings.

The tiny magnets stuck together on either side of Joel Smith’s stomach wall, and doctors performed a five-hour surgery to remove them before they ruptured his bowel.

His mother Melinda Smith said the surgeons at Wesmead Children’s Hospital were fantastic, but it was a horrible experience.

“They showed me the X-ray showing how quickly and aggressively the magnets had joined up and said he would have been a very, very sick little boy. They said they were an hour to an hour and a half from perforating the bowel and if that happened it would have been touch and go.”

Similar magnets, which are sold as adult stress management toys, killed a toddler in Queensland the year before.


Henry Sapiecha

The salt and ice combo: this dangerous new trend giving teens permanent scars

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Latest teen craze: Salt and ice react to burn the skin.

Latest teen craze: Salt and ice react to burn the skin.

When salt is mixed with ice on top of human skin, a reaction occurs which burns the skin in a way similar to frostbite, potentially creating second- or third-degree burns (if not permanent nerve damage) within seconds.

Yet, that’s what a group of teenagers were doing to themselves at a recent sleepover on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, much to their parents’ horror.

Termed the salt and ice challenge, the dangerous stunt is the new way for teens to make fools – and physically injured fools, at that – of themselves on social media.

Rebecca Etherington’s 14-year-old daughter, Hannah, will have a permanent scar on her leg as a painful reminder of what she thought was “harmless fun”.

Mrs Etherington had never heard of the “salt and ice challenge” until she saw the open wound on Hannah’s leg last week.

Hannah told her she had been at a sleepover with a friend and they had taken part in the challenge, which involves pouring salt on the skin and then pressing an ice cube to the area.

The “challenge” first made headlines in the U.S. back in 2012, but it appears it may have

made its way to Australia.

Hannah’s mother went on to explain that her daughter and her friends discovered the challenge “on social media”.

Searching “salt and ice challenge” on YouTube returns 233,000 results. Some of the most-watched videos include “DEADLY ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE” and “Kid Dies From Salt & Ice Challenge (Almost)”.

It’s not the first time a dangerous challenge has been spread across social media. Two years ago, parents were concerned about the cinnamon challenge, in which teens (and adults) attempted to eat a tablespoon of dry cinnamon without gagging.

When the cinnamon challenge didn’t go as planned, the cinnamon could find itself up the nose of the person trying to consume it, which created a strong burning sensation. There was also the possibility that the cinnamon would be inhaled, becoming lodged in the lungs, potentially causing pnuemonia.

But the salt and ice challenge is a different kettle of fish, because injuring yourself isn’t what happens when things go wrong, it’s actually the whole point of the exercise.

Mrs Etherington told the Sunshine Coast Daily that, while many families would see such behaviour as a cry for help, the challenge divorces self-harm from emotional turmoil.

“They’ve turned what used to be something done by kids who are emotionally damaged into the latest craze.”


Henry Sapiecha


Monday, January 19th, 2015


Spring is here, and that means you will soon enjoy cherries and their incredible benefits. In fact, there are many reasons why you should eat more cherries and use them in your recipes, but the major reason is because of their health benefits. I suggest you to enjoy tart cherry varieties, such as Montmorency, to reap all the health benefits of cherries. Without further ado, here are 10 amazing reasons why you should consume more cherries.

1. Boost your energy levels

Consuming cherries helps increase your energy levels naturally. The thing is, the majority of the calories in cherries come from natural sugars, which help boost your mood and increase your energy levels. So, next time you are feeling that terrible midday energy dip, eat a handful of fresh cherries and you will feel much better in no time.

2. Help sleep better

If you are prone to sleep issues, consider eating cherries regularly to improve your sleep. Cherries contain melatonin that helps provide better sleep. Next time you suffer from insomnia, don’t hurry to take a prescription medication that may have nasty side effects, try consuming some cherries every day and see if they help you sleep better.

3. Good for your eyes

Another incredible reason to eat cherries every day is because they are great for your eyes. Cherries contain plenty of vitamin A, and a part of this vitamin is beta carotene that helps promote good vision and keep your eyes healthy. Retinol is another part of vitamin A that helps keep your skin healthy. Cherries actually contain about 20 times more Vitamin A than either strawberries or blueberries, so why not eat them more often?

4. Help prevent cancer

Did you know that by consuming cherries regularly, you can fight certain types of cancers? Cherries are packed with natural, powerful antioxidants that lower your risk of cancer and help with healthy aging. This season, consider adding more cherries to your healthy diet.

5. Improve digestion

Due to their high fiber content, cherries help improve your digestive system and help reduce your cholesterol levels. Sure, you don’t have to eat too many of cherries. A handful of them will be enough for you since it contains about a quarter of the fiber you need to get in a day.

6. Relieve pain and reduce swelling

Cherries are a great source of anthocyanins, which can help reduce pain and swelling from different chronic ailments, including gout and arthritis. If you suffer from arthritis pain, try consuming some cherries instead of taking pills, and see whether it works for you or not.

7. Help prevent muscle cramps

Although bananas have more potassium per serving than ripe cherries, not everybody loves bananas, and you can easily get your potassium from cherries if banana isn’t your favorite fruit. Potassium helps ease and prevent muscle cramps, so it’s always a good idea to have some cherries before or after your exercise. You can also drink cherry juice, if you like. Cherries may also help relieve menstrual pain.

8. Improve your brain function

If you’re feeling a little forgetful, cherries can help to ward off memory loss no matter what your age is. Cherries are known as “brain food” since they are high in powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are great for your brain. So snack on some cherries and improve your brain power.

9. Good for your heart

Foods that are good for your heart are always worth eating, and it’s never too early or too late to begin looking after your heart’s health. Consuming cherries can help reduce your risk of heart disease, and overall cherries are good for your health. Isn’t it a valid reason to eat them more?

10. Have high anti-inflammatory properties

One of the most important health benefits of eating cherries is that they have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This is great news for runners and athletes, who may be aching after workout, as well as for arthritis sufferers. So, if you’re suffering from this pain now, try drinking diluted tart cherry juice 3 times every day.

With a great number of amazing health benefits, it’s impossible to forget about cherries. You can get all those benefits from fresh cherries, or you can opt for cherry juice or dried cherries. When you buy cherry juice, make sure it’s without any added sugars. Do you love cherries? What is your favorite way to eat them?


Henry Sapiecha

Healthy 8 Reasons to Add More Cinnamon to the food you eat

Monday, January 19th, 2015


Cinnamon is a popular spice that most of us sometimes add to an apple pie, coffee or hot chocolate. However, there are a few health reasons to use cinnamon more often. I’m not telling you to add it to every meal you eat, but incorporating cinnamon into your diet can help improve your overall health. Plus, it will add a fantastic flavor to your bland meal. While you probably won’t use this spice in your hearty soups, you might want to use it in your desserts and beverages. Cinnamon is plentiful in calcium, fiber, iron, flavanols, manganese, and some potent antioxidants. Read on to discover 8 health reasons to add more cinnamon to your meals.

1. Cinnamon boosts your brain function

It has been proven that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive processing, however eating it regularly improves your brain function. Cinnamon helps increase memory, focus and attention, and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Consuming a little bit of cinnamon every day helps fight irritability and depression, and prevent headaches. Add a little bit of cinnamon (don’t overdo it!) to your morning coffee or smoothie and reap all its health benefits.

2. It’s good for your heart

When it comes to my heart health, I always try to consume more foods and spices that are good for my heart. I did a small research and found out a study from Penn State that claims that adding spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric, to a diet helps reduce the negative effects of consuming fatty meals. Although it’s better to avoid high-fat foods since they increase your risk of heart disease, adding cinnamon or turmeric to them can be a good solution.

3. It helps lose weight

When combined with a healthy diet and regular workouts, cinnamon can also help you drop weight. The things is, cinnamon helps increase metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels, which plays a crucial role in weight loss. Add a dash of cinnamon to your oatmeal, or yogurt, or any diet-friendly meal to improve your weight loss results. Sure, you won’t see those results instantly, but a little bit goes a long way, you know.

Read also – 10 Foods to Eat to Burn More Calories

4. It improves your gut health

Cinnamon is good for your gut health as well. It helps prevent indigestion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux, diarrhea, and even chronic pain like arthritis have all shown the potential to be alleviated through cinnamon consumption. Probably you don’t use cinnamon in your soups, but I recommend you to add the spice to your favorite soups, especially a vegetable soup, a lentil soup, and a black bean soup.

5. It helps prevent cancer

Consuming cinnamon helps prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. Cancer cells take up glucose and ignore metabolic signals, which is why it’s important to control your sugar levels and reestablish a healthy metabolism, if needed. Adding cinnamon to your everyday meals can help you. Add a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your oatmeal or glass of milk to enjoy all its cancer fighting properties.

6. It helps control mood swings during PMS

Cinnamon is a good source of manganese that helps control mood swings and prevent cramps during PMS. Moreover, cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde that helps balance hormones. Consume a little bit of cinnamon with foods that help fight PMS, such as bananas, dark chocolate, nuts, avocado, almond milk, and yogurt, to make those days easier and happier.

7. It’s good for your gum health

Cinnamon is one of the most popular ingredients in most mouthwashes and chewing gums, and it’s no wonder why. The thing is, cinnamon boasts antibacterial properties and it helps protect gums and teeth from damages. It can also improve your breath. I think it’s one of the most undeniable reasons to add more cinnamon to your meals.

8. It’s good for your skin

Due to its antibacterial properties cinnamon helps relieve itching of the skin and skin redness. Cinnamon can also help fight acne. Due to its natural heat production, cinnamon is also good for massages, and it helps relieve muscle and joint pain. Do you need any other reasons to add cinnamon to your eating plan? I think, it’s already a good reason to have a cup of cinnamon tea or coffee right now.


Henry Sapiecha

3-D facial imaging promises an early detection of autism

Thursday, January 15th, 2015


Wed, 01/14/2015 – 1:05pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Autism is a spectrum of closely related disorders diagnosed in patients who exhibit a shared core of symptoms, including delays in learning to communicate and interact socially. Early detection of autism in children is the key for treatments to be most effective and produce the best outcomes. Using advanced three-dimensional imaging and statistical analysis techniques, researchers at the University of Missouri have identified facial measurements in children with autism that may lead to a screening tool for young children and provide clues to its genetic causes.

“We want to detect the specific facial traits of the face of a child with autism,” said Ye Duan, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at MU. “Doing so might help us define the facial structures common to children with autism and potentially enable early screening for the disorder.”

Expanding upon previous studies using two-dimensional imaging, Duan, working with Judith Miles, professor emerita of child health-genetics in the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at MU, used a system of cameras to photograph and generate three-dimensional images of children’s faces.

The children selected were between 8 and 12 years old. One group of children had been diagnosed with autism by the Thompson Center; the other group consisted of typically developing children. Researchers photographed the faces of children using three-dimensional imaging, which allowed scientists to measure distances along the curvature of the face rather than in a straight line as had been done in previous tests. Duan then ran sophisticated statistical analyses to measure minute differences in the facial measurements of each group.

“It all started from a clinical observation,” Miles said. “Over years of treating children, I noticed that a portion of those diagnosed with autism tend to look alike with similar facial characteristics. I thought perhaps there was something more than coincidence at play. The differences were not abnormal, rather they appeared analogous to similarities observed among siblings. Using three-dimensional images and statistical analysis, we created a ‘fine-tuned map’ of children’s faces and compared those measurements to the various symptoms they exhibit. By clustering the groups based on their facial measurements and recording their autism symptoms, we wanted to determine whether subgroups based on facial structure correlate with autism symptoms and severity.”

The group’s analyses revealed three distinct subgroups of children with autism who had similar measurement patterns in their facial features. These subgroups also shared similarities in the type and severity of their autism symptoms.

Miles said that next steps include inviting other research groups to replicate our findings and to perform DNA analyses to look for specific genes associated with each subgroup. Identifying genes associated with each subtype of autism could potentially lead to the development of more effective treatments and drug therapies, she said.

Freedom Driver portable unit allows man with artificial heart to await transplant at home

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015


Heart failure patients awaiting organ transplants normally find themselves anchored to the hospital bed by a washing machine-sized device that keeps blood pumping through their veins. But for Stan Larkin, a patient at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, a new form of wearable technology is allowing him to keep on the move. The Freedom Driver is a compact, mobile version of the same machine that allows patients like Larkin to go about their normal lives while they wait for a matching donor heart to arrive.

On any given day there are around 3,000 people in the US on the waiting list for a heart transplant, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This organ shortage means that sufferers of advanced heart failure are implanted with devices to aid in survival. In Larkin’s case this involved the removal of his heart and replacing it with an artificial organ, a temporary solution that would keep him alive until another heart became available.


What drives power to Larkin’s artificial heart, and others like it, is a machine that delivers compressed air into the ventricles via two tubes. At first, Larkin was hooked up to the larger, washing machine-sized device. Known as Big Blue, the machine weighs 418 lb (190 kg) and often sees patients remain in hospital for months or even years at a time.

But in June 2014, the Food and Drug Administration approved the aptly named Freedom Driver. Weighing 13 lb (5.9 kg) it performs the same task as Big Blue but is designed to be portable, fitting snugly inside a purpose-made backpack. Patients must meet a certain discharge criteria to make the switch from Big Blue to the Freedom Driver, but once they do they are free to leave the hospital and wait for their new heart at home.


Larkin’s departure from hospital marks the first time that a patient has been switched over to the Freedom Driver at the University of Michigan hospital, and also the first of its patients to take it home in his backpack. He works with therapists to sustain his mobility with the Freedom Driver onboard, is on a number of blood-thinning medications and eats low sodium meals.

“He’s still listed for a heart transplant and we hope to transplant him as soon as an organ is available,” says Jonathan Haft, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan. “In the meantime he can be at home, he can be functional, and continue to rehabilitate himself so he’s in the best possible shape when his opportunity comes.”

You can hear from Larkin in the video below.

Source: University of Michigan


Henry Sapiecha


Monday, January 12th, 2015


A 68-year-old woman who was taking medication to prevent blood clots bled to death after having two of her teeth extracted, an inquest has heard.

Myosotis Julianna Moriarty died after being found unconscious in bed by her daughter on December 18, 2010, two days after her procedure.

The West Australian Coroner’s Court heard on Monday that Ms Moriarty had a history of heart disease and took warfarin, anticoagulant medication, every day to prevent blood clots forming around her prosthetic heart valve.

In her opening address, counsel assisting the coroner Kate Ellson said nothing unusual happened during Ms Moriarty’s extraction and her daughter thought she sounded okay on the phone the day after.

But paramedics could not revive her the next day when she was found unconscious with a mobile phone in her hand.

A post-mortem found Ms Moriarty died from blood loss as a result of having her teeth removed, together with valvular heart disease.

A forensic dentist also found there was no evidence of sutures or gauze packing in Ms Moriarty’s extraction sockets, and that she had blood clots consistent with extensive bleeding.

The coroner is investigating why Ms Moriarty died and whether her procedure was managed appropriately for a patient who had been taking long-term anticoagulant medication.

The inquest continues.


Henry Sapiecha