Driving is down – so are organ transplants. Hmm?

Deaths from motor vehicle crashes and fatal injuries are the biggest source of organs for transplant, accounting for 33% of donations, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the nation’s organ transplant system…

From March 8 to April 11, the number of organ donors who died in traffic collisions was down 23% nationwide compared with the same period last year, while donors who died in all other types of accidents were down 21%, according to data from UNOS.

Awkward, eh?

When your DNA says you aren’t you, not from anywhere around here

Tiffany Brown Anderson/NY Times

” Three months after his bone marrow transplant, Chris Long of Reno, Nev., learned that the DNA in his blood had changed. It had all been replaced by the DNA of his donor, a German man he had exchanged just a handful of messages with…

But four years after his lifesaving procedure, it was not only Mr. Long’s blood that was affected. Swabs of his lips and cheeks contained his DNA — but also that of his donor. Even more surprising to Mr. Long and other colleagues at the crime lab, all of the DNA in his semen belonged to his donor. “I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear,” he said.

” Mr. Long had become a chimera, the technical term for the rare person with two sets of DNA. The word takes its name from a fire-breathing creature in Greek mythology composed of lion, goat and serpent parts. Doctors and forensic scientists have long known that certain medical procedures turn people into chimeras, but where exactly a donor’s DNA shows up — beyond blood — has rarely been studied with criminal applications in mind.

I can see a B-Movie already glazing over the eyes of someone in Hollywood.

Why is this man’s nose on his forehead?

A Chinese man has grown a new nose in an unlikely place after losing his original nose to complications following a traffic accident.

Xiaolian, 22, failed to seek medical help for an infection that developed from his nose injury. After several months, it had corroded the cartilage, and doctors were unable to save it.

But surgeons in a hospital in Fuzhou, Fujian province, placed a skin tissue expander on Xiaolian’s forehead, shaping a new nose using cartilage taken from his ribs.

The new nose is in good shape, according to local media reports, and will soon be transplanted to the correct place.

The obvious reason for using his forehead is that – after the transplant – the skin will match the rest of his face. And it’s out of the way. 🙂

Maryland transplant recipient dies from rabies-infected kidney

A Maryland transplant recipient died from a rabies-infected kidney that came from a donor in Florida who was not known to be carrying the virus…

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said three other transplant patients who received organs from the same donor were under evaluation and receiving post-exposure treatment for rabies.

The transplant patient died in February of the viral infection, which attacks the central nervous system and brain, after receiving the kidney transplant more than a year ago…

CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said between one and three people a year in the United States die from rabies and called the death from a rabies-infected organ transplant extremely rare.

“We only know of one other time and that was in 2004,” Reynolds said.

In that incident, also involving an organ donor who was infected with rabies unknowingly, a total of three transplant recipients were killed by the virus, she said.

The CDC said laboratory testing of organ donors for rabies is not routinely performed because it is difficult to confirm results in the short period of time available to keep organs viable for use in transplants.

Wowee – pretty scary!

Why do Republicans lie about medical ethics?

Daylife/AP Photo use by permission

Few people hold a more uncomfortable place at the health care debate’s intersection between nuanced policy and cable-ready political rhetoric than President Obama’s special health care adviser, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel.

Largely quoting his past writings out of context this summer, Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, labeled Dr. Emanuel a “deadly doctor” who believes health care should be “reserved for the nondisabled” — a false assertion that Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, repeated on the House floor…

In fact, Dr. Emanuel has written more than a million words on health care, some of which form the philosophical underpinnings of the Obama administration plan and some of which have enough free-market elements to win grudging respect from some conservative opponents.

The debate over Dr. Emanuel shows how subtle philosophical arguments that have long bedeviled bioethicists are being condensed, oversimplified and distorted in the griddle-hot health care debate. His writings grapple with some of the most complex issues of medical ethics, like who should get the kidney transplant, the younger patient or the one who is older and sicker..?

“He is a serious oncologist and bioethicist, so the kinds of charges that have been raised against him are particularly inappropriate,” said Gail R. Wilensky, a Republican and senior White House health care adviser under the first President George Bush who criticizes Mr. Obama’s plan as being too reliant on the federal government…

Dr. Emanuel’s argument — that young adults should take priority in vying for limited health resources because they will get more years of life from them — is a fairly mainstream if unpleasant approach to a problem with only bad choices, ethicists and doctors of varying persuasions say.

These kinds of dilemmas go on every day in clinical practice,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a physician and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group. “There’s a very big leap to say his contemplations about how doctors contend with these issues extends to saying he believes government should take on these issues.”

RTFA. Decide your own opinion based on fact rather than the distortions and lies still part of right-wing Republican culture.

I include the proviso “right-wing” though, frankly, I believe that’s all that remains under the populist pup tent.

Steve Jobs on track to be back – from a liver transplant

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave from Apple Inc. since January to treat an undisclosed medical condition, received a liver transplant in Tennessee about two months ago. The chief executive has been recovering well and is expected to return to work on schedule later this month, though he may work part-time initially.

“Steve continues to look forward to returning at the end of June, and there’s nothing further to say,” said Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton.

When he does return, Mr. Jobs may be encouraged by his physicians to initially “work part-time for a month or two,” a person familiar with the thinking at Apple said. That may lead Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, to take “a more encompassing role,” this person said. The person added that Mr. Cook may be appointed to Apple’s board in the not-too-distant future…

At least some Apple directors were aware of the CEO’s surgery. As part of an agreement with Mr. Jobs in place before he went on leave, some board members have been briefed weekly on the CEO’s condition by his physician…

The specifics of Mr. Jobs’s surgery couldn’t be established, but according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the transplant network in the U.S., there are no residency requirements for transplants. Having the procedure done in Tennessee makes sense because its list of patients waiting for transplants is shorter than in many other states. According to data provided by UNOS, in 2006, the median number of days from joining the liver waiting list to transplant was 306 nationally. In Tennessee, it was 48 days…

During his leave, Mr. Jobs has remained involved in key aspects of the company and reviewed products and product plans from home. He has also been seen at Apple’s headquarters, according to people who have seen him there.

Get well and get back to work, Steve. I’d rather our nation had tech heroes to believe in – instead of politicians who think health care is only for the wealthy or media mouths who traffic in fear. You’ve lived up to the standards of American accomplishment better than most professional patriots.