Efforts To Keep Donated Organs ‘Alive’ May Address Shortages
Other public health news covers hot topics like bone cement, penicillin shortages for people with syphilis, nerve damage in prediabetics and the discussion about whether women really need to have periods.
The Washington Post:
Donated Organs Kept ‘Alive’ May Ease The Transplant Shortage
Lloyd Matsumoto awoke from his liver transplant last month to find his surgeon more than pleased with the results. The new organ had begun producing bile almost immediately, a welcome signal that it had quickly started to function well. That may be partly because of the way Matsumoto’s liver traveled from Tufts Medical Center across Boston to Massachusetts General Hospital. Instead of being packed in ice for the 4½ hours it was outside the abdomens of donor and recipient, the liver was essentially kept alive in a device that maintains its temperature, perfuses it with oxygenated blood and monitors its critical activity. (Bernstein, 5/22)
The Associated Press:
Bone Cement Company Accused Of Experimenting On Humans
Reba Golden hurt her back after falling two floors while building an addition to her house in Honduras. But when she returned to Seattle for a routine spinal surgery, she suffered blood clots, severe bleeding and died in 2007 on the operating table. Joan Bryant’s back had bothered her since a 1990 car accident, so in 2009 she sought help from a Seattle spinal surgeon, but she bled out on the operating table and could not be revived. Like at least three spinal-surgery patients before them, Golden and Bryant died after their doctor injected bone cement into their spine and some of the material leaked into their blood stream, causing clotting. The patients were never told Norian bone cement wasn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration. (Bellisle, 5/21)
Penicillin Shortage Could Be A Problem For People With Syphilis
Since it came onto the scene in 1943, penicillin has made syphilis a thing of the past – almost. Now, the sexually transmitted disease is making a comeback in the U.S. and there's a shortage of the medication used to treat it. Pfizer, the company that supplies it, says it's experiencing "an unanticipated manufacturing delay," and in a letter to consumers wrote that it would be providing just one third of the usual monthly demand until July. The medication, called Bicillin L-A, is the recommended treatment for people with syphilis. It's also the only one available for pregnant women who are infected with or exposed to syphilis, which is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. But the antibiotic can be used against other bacteria, like the one that causes strep throat. (Bichell, 5/23)
Do Women Need Periods?
Six years of your life. Or 2,190 days. That's about how long the average woman will spend having her periods. For some women, that's too many days, too many periods. More women in their 20s and 30s are choosing contraception that may suppress their menstrual cycles, says Dr. Elizabeth Micks, who runs an OB-GYN clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle. "In general, I think views are changing really rapidly," Micks says. "That need to have regular periods is not just in our society anymore." (Doucleff, 5/23)
The Baltimore Sun:
Nerve Damage Found In Prediabetics
The pain shot across the tops of Michael Jackson's feet as if someone was pounding him with a sledgehammer, sometimes becoming so unbearable he couldn't sleep. ... Jackson suffered from significant nerve damage stemming from prediabetes — a condition in which people have high blood glucose levels but not enough to be classified as diabetes. Doctors have known for a while that those with prediabetes can experience mild weakness, numbness and pain from nerve damage, but a new Johns Hopkins study suggests that so-called neuropathy is much more significant than once thought. (McDaniels, 5/22)