Archive for the 'Modern Medicine' Category

Gland Focus: The Good Ol’ Parathyroid!

March 4, 2009

parathyroid-gland3Not many folks know what the parathyroid is or does until — as with pretty much everything within our bodies — something goes wrong. Parathyroid hormones regulate calcium in the blood, which affects bone growth among other things. Folks with elevated amounts of the hormone have trouble with, according to Popular Science magazine, “stones (kidney stones), bones (fractures), moans (psychiatric problems) and groans (constipation).” A surprising new way to deal with parathyroid imbalance involves autotransplantation — instead of getting someone else’s parathyroid (rejection is always a problem), they take yours out, then put it back. Sometimes they even put it back in your arm rather than in your neck, where it belongs. Isn’t that amazing?

Organs in the News

February 19, 2009

picture-2You knew that you can sell your old adirondack chair, get a job, buy some orange juice or find a boyfriend on Craigslist. But did you know you can also find a human kidney? Two sisters’ ailing father was looking at a 2-6 year waiting list for a donor until they looked to Craigslist to connect dear old dad with a kidney donor.  Someone stepped up to the plate and dad got his organ. On the less legal side, another person looking to connect with some cold hard cash tried to sell his own kidney on Craiglist for $75,000. Not so legal.

Organs in the News

February 3, 2009

artkidneydoctorsjhuEver since a woman successfully donated a kidney through her vagina, news of faulty gallbladders and bum kidneys being removed in this fashion have surfaced. Who knew you could give birth to a kidney? Apparently the donor (in the dark grey sweatsuit at right) had previously had a hysterectomy, so that pesky uterus wasn’t in the way. The recovery time is much shorter, but she sure doesn’t look too thrilled. Her niece, however, who got the kidney, looks pretty darn happy. Let’s hope her body doesn’t reject it! In less titillating but no less sensational news, doctors have developed a new artificial liver that helps dire patients hang on a little longer while waiting for a transplant.   [photo via CNN}

Grosser Than Gross

January 4, 2009

41qpckchoplPerhaps you’ve heard of a heart transplant, a lung transplant, and even a uterus transplant, but have you ever heard of not just a bowel transplant (WARNING: STOP READING NOW IF YOU’RE EASILY DISGUSTED), but a feces transplant? Yes, it’s true, people sometimes transplant poo. I learned this from What’s Your Poo Telling You?, a fun-loving and fact-filled book all about bodily excretions. Folks with really bad cases of colitis caused by poor intestinal flora can sometimes benefit from a squirt of someone else’s nicely populated bacterial colony. As the book points out, this last-resort treatment may have a bright future “owing to the short list of willing recipients and the potentially endless supply of donors.”

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