Californian Regains Voice with Rare Surgery

Surgeons have successfully transplanted a larynx for the second time in history, giving a fifty-two year old Californian back her voice. Brenda Jenson was operated on for eighteen hours at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, and was able to form her first words after nearly two weeks. She spent four weeks in the hospital following the surgery, and while her speech was very weak at first, it improved rapidly. After weeks of rehabilitation, Jenson met the whole surgical team for the first time.

Jensen expressed her gratitude and said “This operation has restored my life. I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity. It is a miracle, I’m talking, talking, talking which just amazes my friends and family. Every day is a new beginning for me. I’m working so hard to use my vocal cords and train my muscles to swallow… I’ll probably never sing in a choir or anything, but it’s exciting to talk normally and I can’t wait to eat and drink and swim again.”

Generally, the risks of rejection and nerve damage to the larynx prevent doctors from attempting this transplant. In fact, the only other such transplant recorded took place in 1998. Jensen was an unusually fitting candidate for the surgery, though, as she had recently undergone both kidney and pancreas transplants, and was already used to the immunosuppressive medications required following a transplant.

Professor Martin Birchall, who was part of the surgical team, said “The larynx is one of the most sophisticated neuromuscular organs in the body. We’ve learned that we can repair nerves to make even very complex organs function again. It’ll open the door to better facial transplants and will be extremely important as tissue engineering develops.”

O Blood Type May Protect Against Heart Attacks

blood-typeNumerous researchers have reached the same conclusion: O blood type might protect the body from heart attacks once arteries are clogged.

“Certain genes predispose to heart artery plaque build-up, whereas different genes lead to heart attacks when you already have plaque build-up,” said Dr. Muredach P. Reilly, study author and associate professor of medicine at the Cardiovascular Institute of the University of Pennsylvania.

The study results deepen our understanding of the relationship between genetics and cardiovascular health, explains Reilly. “Not all genes for heart disease are equal and therefore have to be used differently in new treatments for heart disease and when assessing risk of heart disease,” he said.

During their research, Reilly’s team compared 13,000 people with coronary artery disease with 7,400 healthy people. They also compared within the 13,000 diseased; 5,800 diseased who had had a heart attack with over 3,600 diseased who had not.

Homeless Man’s Voice Gives Him Another Chance

Ted-Williams-homelessIn one of the first American viral videos of 2011, Ted Williams, a homeless man, is taped while begging for money with a rich, baritone radio voice. The fifty-three year old former radio announcer came upon unfortunate times as a result of drugs and alcohol. The Columbus Dispatch Newspaper posted the video on Monday, and it spread like wildfire. By Thursday, Williams was featured on morning news programs including The Today Show, on which he discussed new voice-over job offers with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as his unbelievably sudden rise to fame.

“I feel like Susan Boyle,” he said, “or Justin Bieber.” He went on to say that the attention is “outrageous. It’s just phenomenal. There is no way in the world that I could ever have imagined… all of this.” He shared that he had become known among drivers in Columbus, and they would drive by just to hear his “God-given gift of voice.” When asked about treatment of the homeless he simply said “don’t judge a book by its cover, everybody has their own little story.”

Running- a Very Healthy Habit

Running is an activity that people do for various reasons. Studies have shown that the health benefits of running are many and widespread, and doctors often recommend it to their patients. First, running can boost your immune system and prevent anything from the common cold to cancer in some people. It is one of the best aerobic exercises, as it conditions your heart and lungs, and ensures the flow of blood and oxygen to all parts of the body; effects that are proven to lessen the risk of heart attacks.

Running can strengthen bones and increase their density, and is also good for the leg and core muscles. Many women take up running or jogging in order to maintain a flat stomach. Aside from boosting a person’s confidence in their appearance, running is a wonderful stress-reliever and can even ease mild depression. Many athletes enjoy running because of the “runner’s high,” the euphoric, calm and confident state of mind that is achieved after a hard run. Adults who exercise on a regular basis are found to be healthier and happier. Running creates an energetic and creative attitude.

“Too Drunk? Your Car Won’t Go Along for the Ride”

Drunk-Driver1Scientists are developing a new technology to increase road safety. “Too drunk? Your car won’t go along for the ride,” they say. The new technology includes either a set of passive sensors installed permanently in the vehicle, or touch-sensitive areas on a key fob or starter button. The sensors will be able to identify the level of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstream. If it is found to be too high, the car won’t start.

“Drunken driving remains the leading cause of fatalities on America’s roads, killing more than 10,000 people in 2009. The technology presents a new opportunity for us to dramatically lower drunk-driving deaths and has the potential to save literally thousands of lives every year,” explained David Strickland. Strickland is the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Administration in the US.

“We haven’t met our criteria yet,” said Susan Fergson, head of the research team, “but we feel comfortable that we will. Speed, accuracy and precision are the three key criteria.”