This year was an amazing year in health. We saw some real advancements in the research labs and in medical technology this year, but most of these amazing stories below stem from unlikely pregnancies and extraordinary surgeries. A woman has her feet turned the right way round, a man has two new arms, and a man is not pregnant once, but twice. Read below to find out more about this insane year in health.
10. Backwards Feet -- The next time you make fun of someone having two left feet, you might want to consider altering the insult to two backwards feet. The condition is rare, but does exist. A Chinese waitress was made famous in 2007 for refusing disability pay for her backward appendages; saying she could walk and run faster than anyone in her family. In 2008, 15-year-old Jingle Luis from the Philippines was made famous for her severly clubbed feet so twisted around she couldn't walk and was wheelchair stricken. An operation in New York successfully had her feet corrected and she is now reportedly walking properly, though extremely slowly.
9. Man gives birth -- There are few things more disturbing than a woman with facial hair. If Thomas Beatie, a woman who became a transexual male, wanted to be a man, why on earth did he keep his vajayjay around, eggs and all? He grew facial hair, cut off his tatas and decided, hey, I'd still like to get my period. The guy/girl is obviously in need of counselling. Not only has he given birth to a happy and ready-to-be medicated baby girl (trust me this kid is going to have deep psychological issues), but he's going for another shot at baby love by announcing he/she is pregnant again.
This is where I become in favor of baby licenses...
8. Tree man -- When this story came on the Discovery Health channel, me and my hubalub could not peel our eyes off the poor guy Dede. This wart-ridden Indonesian man had the unfortunately luck to have one of the most rare forms of HPV, which the CDC reports about 97 percent of females aged 20 to 59 have (it is harder to track for men and therefore the numbers are hazy). The HPV created these warts that continuously grow all over his body. It was so bad he can't wash, eat or poop by himself. Dede was obviously depressed and supporting his family (after his wife naturally left him) by being a freak in a freakshow. A doctor came out to help the man, but he refused medicine and opted for a quick-fix surgery instead. Not to my surprise, the warts are growing back and Dede will need to reconsider his approach if he's to live wart-free.
7. Advancements in stem cells-- Stem cells continued to be a hot topic in health circles in 2008. The use for these potent cells seems to be innumerable. This year we saw a number of advancements in their use, here are just two of the most amazing breakthroughs:
After having bronchitis in 2004, Claudia Castillo (pictured above) was left with a damaged trachea. She could not speak and so she traveled from her hometown in Colombia to Spain to receive a trachea transplant. Doctors used her own stem cells during the transplant so her body would not reject the new trachea. She is reportedly able to talk normally again and obviously happier for it.
Another amazing stem cell breakthrough this year was a successful rat heart transplant at the University of Minnesota. New heart cells from baby lab rats were injected into the casing of a dead rat's heart. The stem cells along with a pacemaker helped spring the dead heart back to life. While far from ready for humans, the experiment was just slightly extraordinary.
6. 70-year-old woman gives birth -- Much like the man giving birth, this story deeply disturbs me. Why? Because people are incredibly stupid and selfish at the cost of the well-being of children, that's why. You can disagree with me all you like. In fact, I encourage you to change my mind about people and their reasons for having offspring, but this story makes me want to smack a senior citizen. Rajo Devi became pregnant through in vitro fertilization in northern India (yes this doctor should have his license taken away) after wanting to give her childless husband a baby. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl earlier this year and is reportedly doing fine. My question is, what is gonna happen to this kid when the parents croak in a few years? I'm sure the kid will be real thankful they had her and then left her to be adopted in India! We really should start a psychiatry fund for these kids.
5. Living without a heart -- I'm sure some of my exs have been living without a heart for at least a good decade now, by choice. Unfortunately for D'Zhana Simmons of South Carolina, she involuntarily had been left without a functioning heart for about four months. She was kept alive by an artificial blood-pumping device, custom-built just for her. The machine was hooked up to D'Zhana after undergoing a heart transplant in which the heart failed to pump. The crapped out heart was taken out quickly and she was left with no heart from July till October. She is reportedly doing fine now despite the extremely scary ordeal.
4. Double arm transplant -- Karl Merk is a 54-year-old German farmer who lost both arms in a farming accident six years ago (this is where Velcro-shoes come in handy). With a team of over 40 surgeons, the man was giving the first successful double-arm transplant this year. He was reportedly doing fine and doctors have told the AP nerve growth appears to be occurring in the farmer's arms. The process of using the arms, however, could take up to two years.
3. Near-full face transplant -- While there have been partial-face transplants before, there has never been as much as 80 percent of another face added onto a patient. The name of the transplant recipient has been kept secret for her privacy, but the media was the transplant included bones, muscles, skin, blood vessels and nerves. The woman received a nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw and even some teeth, all from a cadaver. The woman was so severely disfigured it is reported she risked her life for the surgery.
2. Fat used to power a car -- Not sure if this is really health or science or what the heck it is, but it's pretty whack and crazy at the same time, so I'm gonna count it -- I mean it does involves a doctor! Beverly Hills doctor Craig Alan Bittner was (surprise!) a plastic surgeon who (shocker) liposuctioned a number of incredibly vain heffers in LA and California. The fat he sucked outta these people was creatively used into bio-fuel for his Ford SUV and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator. A little sickening, but you gotta give the guy credit for trying to keep it green!
1. HIV cured? Close! -- Why um hasn't this story been all over CNN? Sometimes I wonder about those guys. They had more play about the damn Obama dog choice than on the fact that a 42-year-old man was cured of HIV through a bone-marrow transplant. This says something and I think it means I have to stop watching TV news.
This American living in Germany had leukemia and AIDS (you thought you had it rough?) for about two years before researchers injected him with bone marrow to cure the cancer. Feeling lucky, they decided to use marrow from an AIDS resistant European (yes we are genetically amazing I know, about 1 percent of Europeans are actually genetically resistant to HIV infections), and voila! The man stopped having HIV. Sadly, bone marrow transplants are too risky to work on a large-scale basis. Damn! Still incredible in my book though!