Leprosy still present in the U.S.
A new Mayo Clinic study found that it is generally safe to withdraw anti-seizure medications in children with epilepsy who have achieved seizure-freedom while on the medication. Researchers found that these children were not at high risk of subsequently developing intractable epilepsy. The study will be presented on Sunday, Dec. 7, at the American Epilepsy
Full Post: Study finds it generally safe to withdraw anti-seizure medication in children with epilepsy
Long believed to be a disease of biblical times, leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, continues to be seen in the United States.
“Approximately 150 cases are diagnosed each year with 3,000 people in the U.S. currently being treated for leprosy, says James Krahenbuhl, Ph.D., director of the Health Resources Service Administration’s National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP) in Baton Rouge, LA. “We believe there are more cases of leprosy not identified due to the lack of awareness about the disease among physicians in the U.S., which is leading to misdiagnosis and wrong treatments for patients who are left to suffer with the debilitating damage caused by this disease.”
Although researchers do not clearly understand how leprosy is transmitted, they do know that it is a slow, chronic disease that attacks the peripheral nervous system and motor skills often leading to disability and disfigurement. According to the NHDP, the onset of infection and symptoms can take three to 10 years, making it difficult for researchers to find the origin of where or how people acquire the disease. As the disease progresses, patients lose their sense of touch in their fingers and toes leaving them open to repeated burns and cuts which then get infected. The effects of repeated damage will initiate bone absorption and motor nerve deterioration causing fingers to shorten and curve, resulting in a claw-like appearance. Although leprosy can be fully treated with medicine when diagnosed in early stages, once the disease has advanced nerve damage cannot be reversed.
Because many of the population in the U.S. affected by leprosy are immigrants in poor communities who primarily seek treatment in free clinics or emergency rooms, the NHDP says that many of those physicians are not familiar with the disease to make an accurate diagnosis. Therefore, many physicians mistake the skin lesions of leprosy for a fungus or ringworm and treat it with a topical cream. And, because leprosy is a slow-progressing disease, it can take months, if not longer, before the doctor or the patient realizes that the treatment isn’t working - giving the disease enough time to start destroying the nervous system.
Leprosy is most prevalent in the tropics and third world countries where there are poor living conditions and limited access to medical care. Due to changes in immigrant relocation, leprosy is now being diagnosed throughout the U.S. The NHDP sees approximately 30 cases each year among residents in southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast of Texas who were born in the U.S. and who have never visited an endemic country. “As we see leprosy move toward internal regions of the States, it becomes more urgent to reach those physicians to let them know about the symptoms of this disease,” explains Dr. Krahenbuhl. Dr. James Krahenbuhl will lead a symposium at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting to raise awareness among physicians that leprosy is in the U.S. and assistance and treatments are available.
According to scientists in the U.S. leprosy is a disease which may be forgotten, but it is still around. Leprosy which is usually associated with biblical times, is also known as Hansen’s disease, and the scientists say approximately 150 cases are diagnosed each year. Dr. James Krahenbuhl, director of the Health Resources Service Administration’s National
Full Post: Leprosy forgotten but not gone
A new species of bacterium that causes leprosy has been identified through intensive genetic analysis of a pair of lethal infections, a research team reports in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. All cases of leprosy, an ancient disease that still maims and kills in the developing world, previously had been
Full Post: Discovery of new species of bacterium that causes leprosy
Dalhousie Medical School researchers have discovered that embryonic stem cells may play a critical role in helping people with nerve damage and motor neuron diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), regain muscular strength. Motor neurons reside in the spinal cord and control limb movements by enabling muscles to contract. Diseases like ALS cause them
Full Post: Researchers use embryonic stem cells from mice to grow motor neurons
BBSRC-funded researchers at UCL along with collaborators at King’s College London have identified a molecule that could be the key to understanding the cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND). This insight opens up the possibilities for developing new treatments to treat these devastating progressive conditions. The research is published today
Full Post: Scientists gain insight into the cause and possible treatment of motor neurone disease
A Mayo Clinic study shows a majority of stroke patients don’t think they’re having a stroke — and as a result — delay seeking treatment until their condition worsens. The findings appear in the current issue of Emergency Medicine Journal at http://emj.bmj.com/. Researchers studied 400 patients who were diagnosed at Mayo Clinic’s emergency department with
Full Post: Signs of stroke - most people ignorant