Baby born with ‘foot in brain’

•December 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

US surgeons operating on a brain tumour in a baby boy found a tiny foot inside his head.

Doctors operated on three-day old Sam Esquibel after finding what looked like a microscopic tumour on an MRI scan.

But while removing the growth, they also found a nearly perfect foot and the partial formation of another foot, a hand and a thigh.

The growth may have been a case of “foetus in foetu” in which a twin begins to form within its sibling.

However, the team at Memorial Hospital for Children in Colorado Springs said such cases very rarely occur in the brain.

It may also have been a type of congenital brain tumour.

But such growths are usually less complex than a foot or hand, the doctors added.


Dr Paul Grabb, a paediatric neurosurgeon, said Sam was otherwise healthy when he underwent the procedure in October.

“It looked like the breech delivery of a baby, coming out of the brain,” he said.

“To find a perfectly formed structure (like this) is extremely unique, unusual, borderline unheard of.”

Sam’s parents, Tiffnie and Manuel Esquibel, say their son is at home now but faces monthly blood tests to check for signs of cancer or regrowth, along with physical therapy to improve the use of his neck.

But they say he has mostly recovered from the operation.

“You’d never know if he didn’t have a scar there,” his mother said.

Mr Dominic Thompson, a consultant paediatric neurosurgeon at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, said there were probably less than 100 recorded cases of foetus in foetu in the medical literature.

He said another possibility was that the tumour was of a type called a teratoma, which can include tissue such as muscle and fat, and more rarely bone and teeth.

However, he said the available details from the US case suggested that foetus in foetu was the most likely explanation, as the tissue was so exceptionally well formed.

Trevor Lawson, of the charity Brain Tumour UK, said: “Even with modern imaging techniques, surgeons can’t be entirely sure of what they’ll find when they go into the skull.

“Even so, this is an exceptionally rare event.

“It’s good to know that baby Sam is recovering well. Brain tumours now kill more children than any other solid cancer and it’s essential that more research is undertaken to identify what causes them.

“Where appropriate consent is gained, rare events like these can sometimes provide invaluable genetic material that gives an insight into the origins of these traumatic tumours.”


Unusual deaths

•July 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So i was fooling around, when i stumbled upon this hilarious list, it’s a list of some of the most unusual deaths that were gathered since 458 B.C. till this day.

Here are some of my favorites ( i know it sounds mean, but i cant help myself )

Aeschylus, Greek playwright, was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him

Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter

An insect flew into the Roman emperor Titus’s nose and picked at his brain for seven years

Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford was fatally speared through the anus by a pikeman hidden under the bridge during the Battle of Boroughbridge

George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon became the first to die from the alleged King Tut’s Curse after a mosquito bite on his face became seriously infected.

Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, died of smallpox in 1978, ten months after the disease was eradicated in the wild, when a researcher at the laboratory Parker worked at accidentally released some virus into the air of the building. She is believed to be the last smallpox fatality in history

In Congo, a soccer game ended when every player on the visiting team was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly

28-year-old South Korean, Lee Seung Seop, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing StarCraft for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.

But this has to be the funniest of them all:

Arius, the heretical priest who precipitated the Council of Nicea, passed wind and evacuated his internal organs

Here’s the link,


Friday 13th not more unlucky, study shows

•June 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Unlucky for some? Dutch statisticians have established that Friday 13th, a date regarded in many countries as inauspicious, is actually safer than an average Friday.

A study published on Thursday by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) showed that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays.

“I find it hard to believe that it is because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home, but statistically speaking, driving is a little bit safer on Friday 13th,” CVS statistician Alex Hoen told the Verzekerd insurance magazine.

In the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday, the CVS study said. But the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.

There were also fewer incidents of fire and theft, although the average value of losses on Fridays 13th was slightly higher.

(Reporting by Tineke van der Struik; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Kiss the ‘Kiss of Life” goodbye

•April 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So the America Heart Association issued in a publication that CPR with mouth to mouth or without it is the same. Who ever saw that coming?

I’ll leave you with the article

On March 31, an important advisory statement on “hands-only” (compression-only) CPR was published in Circulation. This statement clarifies the 2005 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC, which included the recommendation that laypersons – or bystanders – should perform hands-only CPR if they are unable or unwilling to provide rescue breaths.

Hands-Only CPR Consumer Web Site to find out more about this lifesaving initiative.

Karak syndrome: a novel degenerative disorder of the basal ganglia and cerebellum

•April 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Whoever thought this was new is wrong, this was published in 2003 in BMJ, what makes this a proud revalation for me is the fact that two of the people that taught me are of the publishers, Dr. ammar Mubaidin, and in my opinion the best Neurosurgeon in Jordan Dr. Amer Shurbaji.

In my Neurosurgery rotation i got the privilege of observing a surgery done by Dr. Shurbaji, it was for a CP-angle meningioma, it was quite an experience. i remember the patient was a woman from Yemen that came all the way to Jordan to do this operation. Needless to mention that the operation was a total success.

Well here’s the source for the BMj article on Karak Syndrome


Asian Palm Civet, origin of the Kopi Luwak

•March 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment


I was wondering what would anyone think if they saw this creature?! it sure isn’t the cutest you’d see ?!

Well it may not be the cutest, but it sure is one of the most famous, this is the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), also known as the Toddy Cat, and it’s the origin of Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 USD per pound.

Kopi Luwak is made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet . The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested. This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, and in the Philippines (where the product is called Kape Alamid). Vietnam has a similar type of coffee, called weasel coffee, which are coffee berries which have been defecated by local weasels. In actuality the “weasel” is just the local version of the Asian Palm Civet.

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee, and luwak is a local name of the Asian Palm Civet. The raw, red coffee berries are part of its normal diet, along with insects, small mammals, small reptiles, eggs and nestlings of birds, and other fruit. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee’s flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are excreted still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare led to thousands of these civets in China being exterminated, but the demand for the coffee was not affected.

We may not have this coffee in Jordan, but i’m sure all coffee lovers like myself are dying to get a taste of Kopi Luwak.

I looked this up after watching the movie “Bucket List”, where Jack Nickelson always insisted on taking his Kopi Luwak machine wherever he went, even when he stayed in hospital with a few months to live..


Chinese man has surgery for 10kg face tumour

•March 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

A Chinese man has had surgery to remove part of a 22lb (10kg) tumour from his face.

The surgery was the second operation for 32-year-old Huang Chuncai, who had part of his original 55.7lb (23kg) tumour reduced last year.

Surgeons at the hospital in Guangzhou removed a further 9.9lb (4.5kg) of the growths this week.

The tumours are caused by the condition Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder causing soft, non-cancerous growths to appear on nerve tissues.

In the UK, around one in avery 25000 babies born are affected by the condition.


Huang, who comes from a remote village in China’s southern province of Hunan, said he was relieved following his first operation in July last year.

The tumour first became visible when Huang was four years old, and has since blocked his left eye, knocked out his teeth and deformed his backbone.

Last month the Telegraph reported the story of Jose Mestre, a Jehovah’s Witness who refused all surgery on his facial disfigurement.

A tumour that began on his lip during adolescence now obliterates most of his face, measuring 15 inches long and weighing 12lb.

Following a consultation in London with Dr Iain Hutchison of St Bartholomew’s, it was hoped Mr Mestre may be able to have surgery without a the blood transfusion banned by his religion.