The human body is a wonderful creation. Evolution over millions of years has created such a complex system that we haven’t yet known all the mysteries it beholds. Each time we discover something new about the body, we are astonished and awestruck. The advances in various sciences have created a vast store of knowledge to study and learn, from which we were able to gather a few fascinating medical facts…
1. If you’ve ever noticed a single pupil appear white instead of red in a child’s photograph taken with flash, it could be Retinoblastoma – a type of eye cancer. In a normal eye the reflection is red instead of white because of the blood vessels.
Retinoblasts are fast growing cells that grow and mature, forming the retina of a baby during the early stages of pregnancy. However, in some cases they do not stop dividing and reproducing, resulting in a malignant tumor in the eye – known as Retinoblastoma. Mostly, children who are 5 years or less fall victim to it with around 200 to 300 being diagnosed positive each year. Retinoblastoma is very rare among adults. In children it occurs 75% of the time in one eye , while 25% in both. It could also be inherited if at least one of the parents had it. (source)
2. It is possible to transplant a toe in place of a lost thumb through microsurgery. The surgery was first successfully performed on a rhesus monkey in the year 1964.
Toe to thumb transplantations have been taking place since many years. The thumb is the most important finger in the hand as it has the ability to oppose the force of the rest of the fingers, making it possible for a hand to hold, press or pick something. The thumb is said to be responsible for more than 50% of a hand’s function and agility. In case of congenital anomalies or traumatic loss of the thumb, the great toe is particularly suitable to replace it. Doctors perform what is known as microsurgery to connect the nerves, small arteries and veins of the hand to those of the transplanted toe. Later the toe adapts to the structure and decreases in size. (source)
3. High levels of stress can literally kill your brain. Studies have found that prolonged exposure to stress can affect the brain’s ability to learn, control impulses, reason or remember by permanently damaging your neurons.
Cortisol, one of the hormones released while you are experiencing stress can damage the Hippocampus by stopping new neurons from generating and destroying the existing ones. Other areas that are negatively affected by stress include Amygdala and Medial Prefrontal Cortex by increasing and decreasing their sizes respectively. The Medial Prefrontal Cortex is responsible for complex cognitive behavior, social interactions, decision making, working memory and controlling impulsive behavior. Amygdala is responsible for the formation of memories associated with emotional events, whereas Hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory.(source)
4. The bridge of the nose and the corners of the mouth form what is known as the danger triangle of the face. In rare cases, popping a pimple in this area can lead to brain infections, facial paralysis or even death.
Because of the way the blood supply to the nose and the area around it functions, it is very likely for infections to spread to the brain from that area. There is a vein that connects the facial vein with the cavernous sinus which is very close to the brain and the inside layers called meninges that surround the brain. Though popping a pimple is a very common practice to quickly get rid of a pimple, if not properly done, it keeps the surface of the skin open. The exposed surface might get infected which could be carried back to the cavernous sinus and infect the meninges.(1, 2)
5. Applying sugar on wounds can heal them by drying them out, promoting fresh tissue growth and dehydrating infection-causing bacteria.
Almost 4,000 years ago, Egyptians used to treat battle wounds by packing them with sweet substances like sugar. According to Professor Rudy Siewert, the chairman of the department of surgery at Klinikum Rechts Der Isar in Munich, the simple and age-old treatment is now coming back to use. Some doctors in Europe have started giving it a try. Dr. Richard A. Knustson, an orthopedic surgeon in Greenville, was frustrated with wounds infected with resistant bacteria when he tried using a paste which he made by mixing sugar with iodine solution. He has used it on about 6,000 patients with all kinds of wounds including burns.(source)