Archive for October, 2015

Bubonic plague infects teenager in USA

Saturday, October 31st, 2015


The final pandemic of the bubonic plague was spread by rats on ships. Photo: Leander Nardin

A teenager in Oregon has been diagnosed with bubonic plague, the illness that killed tens of millions of people in the 14th century but is treatable today.

Oregon health officials said the Crook County girl is believed to have acquired the disease from a flea bite during a hunting trip near Heppner in Morrow County. The trip started on October 16, she fell ill five days later and was hospitalised three days after that.

The unnamed girl is recovering but is still in intensive care, officials said. A boy from Colorado died of a rare case of the plague in June.

During the 14th century, the plague, also known as the Black Death because of the symptom of oozing, blackened sores, killed tens of millions of people in Europe, Asia and Africa. An estimated 25 per cent to 60 per cent of the population of Europe – some 50 million people – died and some histories put the toll as high as 200 million throughout the world over the century.

The plague is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. Symptoms of the bubonic plague, the most common form of the bacterial infection, include high fever, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.

“Many people think of the plague as a disease of the past, but it’s still very much present in our environment, particularly among wildlife,” Oregon public health veterinarian Emilio DeBess said. “Fortunately, plague remains a rare disease, but people need to take appropriate precautions with wildlife and their pets to keep it that way.”

There were only 1,006 confirmed or probable cases of plague in the United States between 1900 and 2012, nearly five in six of them of the bubonic variety, according to a paper published earlier this year.

In recent decades, the United States has averaged about seven annual cases of human plague, the vast majority in western states.

When bubonic plague is left untreated, plague bacteria can invade the bloodstream, causing other forms of plague and “can progress rapidly to death,” according to the the Centre for Disease Control.

The advent of antibiotics dramatically reduced the mortality rate of those infected with plague in the US from 66 per cent in the early decades of the 20th century to 11 per cent from 1990 to 2010.

Despite its infamy, the “Great Plague” or “Black Death” of the Middle Ages was actually the second of three plague pandemics in recorded history.

The first was the Justinian Plague, which began in 541 A.D. and was named for Byzantine emperor Justinian I. More than 25 million people died over two centuries marked by frequent outbreaks.

The Black Death was next, starting in 1334 in China and spreading along trade routes to Europe. It claimed an estimated 60 per cent of the European population. Despite the massive losses, some say it may have played a role in ushering in the Renaissance, as the resulting huge labor shortages created a need for modernisation.

The final pandemic, the Modern Plague, also began in China, in the 1860s. It had appeared in Hong Kong by 1894 and then spread throughout the world by rats on ships over the next two decades. It was during that pandemic that scientists discovered that the plague was caused by a bacteria and often spread through fleas.

Los Angeles Times, Washington Post​


Henry Sapiecha

Australia’s Westmead Hospital to offer life-saving, stomach-churning, poo transplant cure

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Despite the ick factor, some doctors have called fecal transplants a near miraculous treatment for recurrent infections from an antibiotic-resistant, often deadly, superbug.

Poo transplanting

Dr David van der Poorten from Westmead Hospital has been performing a revolutionary treatment that offers the chance of a cure for debilitating and potentially deadly gut conditions.

“It was the worst time in my life,” Samar Munoz says of the superbug that ravaged her body.

Daily antibiotics were not strong enough to fight off the Clostridium difficile (C. diff) attacking her guts for nearly 15 years. In January, and then again in May, she found herself fighting for her life in intensive care.

It’s a very, very good idea. It should have been done a long time ago.  

Professor Thomas Borody

So when doctors at Westmead Hospital offered her the chance to become the first patient in a new treatment for C. diff she knew she had to take part, although she “was a bit iffy” at first.

Samar Munoz's health turned around after she had a poo transplant from her husband imjage

Samar Munoz’s health turned around after she had a poo transplant from her husband, Charles. Photo: Tony Walters

That’s because the treatment itself was perhaps the most stomach-churning cure for a gut problem you could possibly imagine

Ms Munoz was to be given a poo transplant.And not just any poo: her husband, Charles, was to be the donor.
Dr David van der Poorten performs the transplant image

Dr David van der Poorten performs the transplant. Photo: Supplied

But the results were almost immediate. After years of suffering, Ms Munoz is now cured.

The procedure allows the good bacteria in the transplanted poo to recolonise the body, so the body can fight off the infection.

Westmead Hospital is now setting up a permanent program of poo transplantation, with the hope that patients from across the state will be referred when all else has failed. It will be only the second public hospital in Australia to offer it, even though the Gastroenterological Society of Australia last month recommended all people with recurrent C. diff should get it.

Recently, Fairfax Media understands a young woman in her 30s died of a C. diff infection that attacked her system so quickly and viciously that nothing could be done.

David van der Poorten, a staff specialist in gastroenterology and hepatology at Westmead Hospital and a senior lecturer at Sydney University, said he was setting up a “poo bank” at the hospital, so emergency cases – often caused by severe “superbug” strains that are more common overseas – could be treated.

“In most cases C. diff infection only occurs in people who are sick anyway; the elderly, people with immune problems or cancer, or people who have had a lot of antibiotics,” he said.

Recipe for success: the note that sits next to the specially bought blender.

Recipe for success: the note that sits next to the specially bought blender.

“Some of these severe strains seem to be occurring even in people who are relatively healthy.”

More than 4500 people in NSW are infected with C. diff each year, with infections increasing. In 5 per cent of cases antibiotics fail, and sometimes the only treatment is to remove the bowel. If successful, such drastic surgery has huge impacts on the person’s quality of life. But in up to half the cases it fails, and the person dies.

So far four patients have been treated at Westmead and all have been cured. The treatment is believed to have a 90 per cent success rate.

“There’s very few things we do where the success rate is 90 per cent – a treatment that works in 60 per cent of cases is considered an excellent treatment,” Dr van der Poorten said.

He was inspired to start the program at Westmead after a groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found it was an almost universal cure for the deadly C. diff infection, to such an extent that the ethics committee in charge stopped the study early on the grounds it would be unethical not to offer the treatment to all patients.

Yet the only place where the treatment was available was the privately run Centre for Digestive Diseases in Five Dock, which is run by a pioneer of faecal transplant – Australian professor Thomas Borody.

Dr David van der Poorten performs a transplant at Westmead Hospital image

“Most of the patients we have at Westmead don’t have private health insurance and it’s just not feasible for them to pay a couple of thousand dollars,” Dr van der Poorten said. “We had patients who had ended up with bad outcomes who almost certainly would have done better if they had had this treatment. Yet not a single public hospital was offering it.”

An editorial published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday said Australian health authorities were behind Britain in formalising approval for the treatment.

Dr van der Poorten said part of the difficulty in getting a clinic set up was that hospitals and medical authorities tended not to know how to categorise a poo transplant: as a drug, experimental treatment, or a biological therapy. To get his clinic set up took more than 12 months and required him to do it as part of a new clinical trial.

But this means Dr van der Poorten may now be able to use the trial to explore cutting-edge research into how the bacteria in our guts could influence things such as why some people get overweight while others stay thin.

Researchers believe it could be linked to our individual range of gut bacteria.

“I think eventually it will be proven that if you get the appropriate mix of bacteria from someone who is lean, it does affect things like metabolism,” he said.

This year US doctors reported a case of a healthy-weight patient who received a transplant from her overweight daughter. Within a year and a half, the woman had become obese. Other studies in mice have found similar effects.

Westmead Hospital will only source donations from lean people who have undergone a raft of tests and a full medical history. This would stop people who have, for example, a family history of bowel cancer from donating.

So far every donation besides Mr Munoz’ has come from a gasteroenterology registrar, and Dr van der Poorten expects medical students will make up most future donors.

The donation is simply collected, tested, then blended with saline solution in a normal household blender, and inserted via colonoscopy.

Professor Borody said he welcomed the new clinic. “I think it’s a very, very good idea,” he said. “It should have been done a long time ago. It’s about time this was in the public system.”

And Ms Munoz says anyone suffering like she was should jump at the treatment.

“Just do it, do it, do it, do it,” she says. “It’s unbelievable.”


Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Published on Mar 20, 2015

The Sacred Science – Drama Documentary Adventure [USA] full film

Diabetes. Prostate cancer. Alcoholism. Parkinson’s diseases. Just a handful of many common illnesses that Western medicine has been inadequate in curing or treating. Witness the story of eight brave souls as they leave the developed world behind in search of deeper answers. Living in seclusion for one month in the heart of the Amazon jungle, these men and women take part in the powerful healing practices of Peru’s indigenous medicine men, working with centuries-old plant remedies and spiritual disciplines. In their most desperate hour, these patients are forced to confront not only their physical ailments, but their own spiritual and psychological barriers in the process. Five will return with real results, two will return disappointed, and one won’t come back at all.
Directors:Nicholas J. Polizzi



Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, October 15th, 2015

For billionaire Manoj Bhargava (like many other people), the world is a place full of problems. Between poverty, pollution, food growth, and access to water, the list seems to be ever growing. That’s why he’s recently pledged to spearhead a group aimed at giving away all their billions to turning things around for mankind.

Here’s how he plans to do it…

It seems like a promotional video, but the message behind it is so important.

Regardless of whether he’s naive or not, there’s no question his motives are pure. It’s certainly something society — and the world — needs. Stereotypes and politics aside, there are many wealthy people that truly help the needy…and we hope the number of those people increases.



Henry Sapiecha

You’ve Heard Of Skin Cancer, But Did You Know There is nail cancer as well-Video report here.

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Everyone knows that if you see a mole or a freckle that looks strange in color or size, you should get it checked out. It’s important to catch these potentially cancerous masses before they turn into something deadly.

But have you ever heard of anyone finding cancerous tissue in their fingernails? Well, it can happen. Just as cancer can affect the skin, it can also affect the skin under your nails, and it usually manifests as a dark-colored stripe or streak that gradually increases in size and darkness.

The cancerous tissue, according to nail specialist Dr. Dana Stern, affects the nail matrix.

These bizarre lines on fingernails aren't always signs of cancer image-2

Keeping an eye on yourself is always a good idea. If you see or feel anything out of the ordinary, seek medical help as soon as possible to make sure that nothing serious is happening. If something serious is the cause, early detection and treatment will greatly increase your chances of making a full recovery.

These bizarre lines on fingernails aren't always signs of cancer image

Most nail markings are actually the result of vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Dr. Stern says that the thumb, index finger, and big toe are the most common digits affected by this strange form of cancer.

The nail matrix sits near the cuticle, and it’s where all fingernails and toenails originate.

These bizarre lines aren’t always signs of cancer, but it’s best to get them looked at.


Henry Sapiecha

Dead foetus found inside four-year-old boy

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

foetus image

WHEN a four-year-old boy complained of a stomach ache last week, doctors suspected a tumour.

But they were shocked after a CAT scan revealed the pain was caused by a dead foetus inside his abdomen.

Dr Shirshendu Giri said he operated on the boy, who was from a village in West Bengal, India.

“The dead embryo which had hands, legs, nails and a partially formed head was removed from the child’s body after a long operation,” he told International Business Times. “The boy is all right now, still under close observation.”

Doctors said the boy suffered from the rare medical condition, “foetus in foetu” (baby within a baby), in which a malformed foetus is found in the body of its twin. In the early stages of pregnancy, one of the twin foetuses may absorb the other. The enveloped twin becomes a “parasite” that relies on its host.

The abnormality has an incidence of one in 500,000 live births, with less than 100 reported cases worldwide, according to a 2005 case report in ANNALS Academy of Medicine Singapore.

In June 2009, a man in India named Sanju Bhagat underwent surgery to have a parasitic twin, which he carried inside his body for 36 years, removed. In March 2006, doctors in Pakistan removed two foetuses from inside a two-month-old girl.


Henry Sapiecha