Doctors at the American Academy of Neurology are warning the public of an emerging polio-like disease in California, where about 20 people, mostly children, have been infected. Some patients developed paralysis in all four limbs, which hadn’t improved with treatment.
A detailed analysis of the cases showed that enterovirus-68, which is related to the poliovirus, could be the reason for the infection. Polio is a dangerous childhood infection. Its virus invades the nervous system and causes paralysis in one in 200 cases. It also stops the lungs from working, which can cause death.
Not an Epidemic
Doctors say the infection remains rare, but they don’t expect an epidemic of the polio-like virus. “There has been no obvious increase in the pace of new cases so we don’t think we’re about to experience an epidemic, that’s the good news,” Dr. Emanuelle Waubant, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco said.
She stressed, however, that it’s “bad news” for individuals who develop symptoms which tend to be moderate to severe.
Doctors at the London Chest Hospital have started treating heart attack patients with their own stem cells, the biggest ever stem cell trial.
Stem cell trial
The London patients are among the first of 30,000 participants in 11 European countries to look at the life prolonging effects of stem cell treatment.
All the patients will have a standard procedure to widen their narrowed arteries. This involves inserting a small tube known as a stent.
A few days after suffering a heart attack, stem cells will be harvested from the patient’s own bone marrow and then injected into heart muscles in the hope that they repair some of the damage.
Increase survival rates
The study should determine whether the treatment can reduce death rates and repair damaged tissue after a cardiac arrest.
Although more and more patients are surviving, they can be left considerably weak.
There have already been a number of smaller trials using stem cells, as heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK.