Sunday, February 27, 2011

Knife in man’s head has been removed after four years

A Chinese man has had a four-inch blade surgically removed from his head after four years of self-medication with anesthetic injections.

Mr Ni had been suffering from severe headaches for more than four years before seeking treatment for what he supposed was an aural disease. After taking X-rays of his head, doctors were shocked to find a four-inch blade stuck in his brain.

"We checked his mouth, but no injury or scar has been found. It is very odd as to how the blade got into his head," said Xu Wen, deputy director of the stomatology department of the People's Hospital in Yuxi city.

Mr Ni later recalled being attempted in the lower right jaw during a fight with a robber four years ago. After that, he had suffered regular headaches, difficulty swallowing food, a gruff voice and had occasionally spoke gibberish.

Previous hospital examinations had found no cause of the symptoms. "As time went on, I used injections to kill pain in head and ears. It has now been four years," Mr Ni said. The rusty blade luckily did not touch the brain artery nor facial nerves, keeping him narrowly alive.

Mr Ni is now getting better from the operation in hospital.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Orphanage fire kills 10 children in Estonia

A fire raced through an orphanage for disabled children in western Estonia on Sunday, killing 10 of them, a salvage service spokesman said. There were 37 children and nine adults inside the wooden building when the fire happened at 2:30 p.m. (1230GMT) in the coastal town of Haapsalu, said Viktor Saaremets, a spokesman for the Western Estonia Rescue Services Center.

"By the time salvage workers and firefighters arrived at the scene three or four minutes later the building was completely in flames," he said. Ten children were killed and one adult was hurt, Saaremets said. The others were abandoned to a nearby building and were not hurt, he said.

The cause of the fire was not right away clear. "Fire safety inspectors went there in January and found that the building met all the necessary criteria," Saaremets said.

Estonian newspaper Postimees showed pictures on its website of flames tearing into a one-story wooden building. Dead were carried out from a window, as thick smoke billowed from the roof.

The Estonian government met for an crisis meeting after the blaze and declared Monday a nationwide day of grief. Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves expressed his pity. "The tragic accident in the Haapsalu orphanage shocked the whole of Estonia today," Ilves said in a brief statement.

Local officials in Haapsalu told Estonian media that the number of victims was improbable to rise.

The Haapsalu orphanage was opened as a home for immobilized children in 1950, when Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union, according to its website. In 1996 it moved into the current building, which was funded by the Estonian government as well as Swedish, Finnish and US donors.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Woman gives birth to own grandson

A 61 year-old woman in the US has given birth to her own grandson. 

Kristine Casey acted as a surrogate for daughter Sara Connell after she was powerless to have children of her own. Mrs Connell and her husband Bill are the organic parents of the boy, who is called Finnean.

The 35 year-old lecturer sat holding her mother's hand as she delivered the baby boy at a hospital in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She said her mother, who gave birth to her last child almost 30 years ago, had obtainable to act as a surrogate when she suffered years of heartache annoying to conceive.

Mrs Connell said she underwent IVF treatment in 2004 but delivered stillborn twins, and later she suffered a miscarriage. She said when she heard her son cry for the first time after the caesarean section delivery she could not hold back the emotion.

"I lost it," Mrs Connell said. "It's such a wonder." Mrs Casey, a mother-of-three, said she was grateful to be able to help her daughter.

"The three of the happiest days of my life were giving birth to my daughters,' and I thought I could choose to do this for an important person I love," she said. Mrs Casey underwent multiple tests to assess her medical and psychological health, as required by Illinois law on surrogate births.

She fell pregnant after his second course of IVF treatment and gave birth after 39 weeks. Mrs Casey, who is from Virginia, is believed to be the oldest person in the state of Illinois to give birth.

"The emotional context of this delivery was so profound," said Dr Susan Gerber, an obstetrician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital where the baby boy was born.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Age related macular deterioration clue discovered

An international team of researchers have found a clue to one of the most important causes of blindness, which they hope could eventually lead to a cure. Age-related macular degeneration affects 500,000 people in the UK and is not curable.

The study in the journal Nature found an enzyme recognized as DICER1 that stops functioning, resulting in the illness. UK experts said it had the possible to be an important breakthrough.

The macula is a part of the eye which sits in the centre of the retina and is accountable for the fine detail at the centre of the field of vision. As the disease progresses that central vision declines, making reading, driving and recognizing people difficult. It affects one in 50 people over 50 and one in five people over 85.

The precise cause is unknown, but risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure and having relatives with the condition.

Potential breakthrough 

The researchers noticed the enzyme DICER1 was less active in the retina of people with the more common "dry form" of the sickness and when they turned off the gene which makes the enzyme in mice, then the animal's retina cells were damaged. It was then discovered that DICER1 is essential for destroying small pieces of genetic material called Alu RNA.

Without DICER1, the Alu RNA accumulates with toxic penalty leading to the death of the retina. Professor Jayakrishna Ambati, from the University of Kentucky, told the BBC: "This work opens many new doors of investigate.

"First, we need to identify various classes of molecules that can either add to DICER1 levels or block Alu RNA so that these can be evaluating in clinical trials. "Second, we need to understand more about the biological processes that lead to reduction in DICER1 levels and the precise basis of the Alu RNA transcripts."

Professor Ian Grierson, school of clinical sciences at the University of Liverpool, said: "This is a great piece of science which provides another jigsaw piece which we need to put together with other findings. "It was done in an animal model which is a long way from the patient; the breakthrough is we've got another player."

Professor Mike Cheetham, head of molecular and cellular neuroscience at UCL, said: "It's a potentially very important get through which gives insight into this dry form of the disease.”It could provide new pathways to therapy, but the findings need to be validated by other researchers."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shocking cyclone wreaks chaos in Australia

INNISFAIL, Australia (AFP) – A frightening top-strength cyclone slammed into Australia's populous northeast coast Thursday leaving a trail of obliteration, the worst storm to batter the region in a century.

Howling winds beat up by Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi with speeds of up to 290 kilometres (181 miles) per hour ripped off roofs, felled trees and cut power lines as the tempest crossed the Queensland coast.

Yasi made landfall around midnight (1400 GMT), the Bureau of Meteorology said, after the cyclone was improved early in the day to a category five storm from category four. The storm made landfall near Mission Beach, which lies in the heart of a tourism and agriculture-rich area 180 kilometres south of Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

The bureau later downgraded the cyclone to a group three storm and said it would continue to weaken as it moved in a west-southwesterly direction but said it remained dangerous. "The very unhelpful core, with gusts up to 205 km/h, is continuing to move inland west of Cardwell towards the Georgetown area," it said.

"Critical winds with gusts in excess of 125 km/h are occurring between Innisfail and Townsville and extending inland to east of Georgetown." The stricken area's million inhabitants were earlier warned of an "extremely dangerous sea level rise" and "very destructive" winds supplementary Yasi's arrival, posing a severe threat to life.

State Premier Anna Bligh echoed the bleak note of caution, urging residents to steel themselves for what dawn and the passing of the storm might make known. "Without doubt we are set to meet scenes of devastation and heartbreak on an unprecedented scale," she said.

"It will take all of us and all of our strength to conquer this. The next 24 hours I think are going to be very, very tough ones for everybody." More than 10,000 seaside residents and tourists were protecting in 20 evacuation centres across the region -- some so crowded that people were turned away -- while tens of thousands more were staying with family and friends.

Locals further from the water were told to batten down and get ready a "safe room" such as a bathroom or a basement, with mattresses, pillows, a radio, food and water supplies to wait out the cyclone. About 4,000 soldiers were on standby to help residents when the storm passed, but until then, locals were on their own as it was too unsafe to deploy emergency personnel, officials said.

Yasi was determining up as the worst cyclone in Australian history, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said, adding the nation was with Queenslanders as they faced "many, many dreadful, frightening hours" of destruction.

"This is almost certainly the worst cyclone that our nation has ever seen," Gillard said. Bligh said grave fears were held for major power transmission lines in the region, never before tested at category five winds, caution that their failure would be a "catastrophic" issue for the entire state.

"We are planning for an aftermath that may see a catastrophic failure of necessary services," she said. The storm's size and power dwarfs Cyclone Tracy, which hit the northern Australian city of Darwin in 1974, killing 71 people and destruction more than 90 percent of its houses.

It comes after scores of Queensland towns were overwhelmed and more than 30 people killed by flooding in recent weeks that caused Australia's most luxurious natural disaster on record.