Vacuum cleaner busts blood clot

Bobbie Laird survived a life-threatening stroke sparked off by a nearly half-inch long blood clot in her brain, thanks to a catheter device used by Dr John Whapham of Loyola University Health System. He used a catheter device called Penumbra to stop the stroke, broke up the clot and then extracted the waste.

A majority of strokes are caused by blood clots in brain vessels. The brain cells die when they do not receive blood and oxygen. However, timely treatment can reduce damage and save life. Bobbie was brought to the emergency room paralysed on the left side of her body. She was fast losing consciousness. A clot had passed through her heart and was stuck up in her right middle cerebral artery, which delivers blood to most of the right side of the brain. The clot jammed the flow of blood and it eventually grew almost 12 millimetres long.

She was administered tPA, an intravenous clot-busting drug. When she showed a slight improvement and moved her arm a little. Thereafter, Whapham took over her treatment. He inserted the Penumbra in an artery in the groin and moved it up through her heart and carotid artery into the brain. Subsequently, the clot was busted using a tiny agitator and the debris was removed through a thin tube.

Call for ban on Breastlight torch

A well-known British breast cancer charity has appealed Boots the chemist to refrain from selling the Breastlight, which claims to detect lumps in breasts.

According to Cancer Research, there is ‘no clear evidence’ that the Breastlight torch could discover cancerous lumps, and either led to anxiety in women using it or made them carefree.

The device priced at 85 pounds is marketed as a ‘health and wellbeing’ product and works by shining a light through the tissue, revealing an ‘internal’ view of the breast, thereby, showing any unusual dark shapes, which could be lumps.

Although, trials of the Breastlight saw the product identify abnormalities in 12 out of 18 women diagnosed with malignant tumours, Dr Lesley Walker believes women should not depend on the product.

“There is no clear evidence to show this sort of home testing kit could reliably detect breast cancer,” said Lesley.

She added: “There’s a danger that use of the device could leave some women with increased levels of anxiety and others with false reassurance.”

Fish can help improve nervous system function

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish, appears to play a significant role in improving nervous system function, reveals a new study.

The researchers insist two omega-3 fatty acids — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been found to avoid sensory overload, maybe by maintaining nerve-cell membranes.

The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington’s disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system.

“It is an uphill battle now to reverse the message that ‘fats are bad’, and to increase omega-3 fats in our diet,” said Norman Salem Jr, who led this study at the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.