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South African Doctor Cures Deafness With First-Ever Middle Ear Transplant

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Doctor Cures Deafness Middle Ear Transplant
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A team of South African doctors in the capital city Pretoria has been hailed as pioneers in the field of global medicine after performing the first-ever transplant of a patient’s middle ear.

The achievement–which used 3D-printed technology to reconstruct the broken bones of a middle ear–is being celebrated as a long-term solution to conductive hearing loss. What’s more, the surgery can be performed on people of any age, including newborn babies, curing patients of a form of deafness that is caused by physical damage or infection in the middle ear as well as congenital birth defects and metabolic diseases.

The first patient to undergo the procedure was a 35-year-old male who lost his hearing after a car accident devastated his middle ear. Due to the nature of his trauma, the operation lasted about an hour and a half, according to Legit.

The brains behind the medical team at the University of Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Professor Mashudu Tshifularo, had been studying conductive hearing loss over the past decade, but in the past two years he began investigating the use of 3D printing technologies for the purpose of scanning and wholly recreating the smallest bones, or ossicles, of the middle ear–namely the hammer, anvil and stirrup.

In a celebratory press release issued by the South African Department of Health, Tshifularo is quoted as explaining:

“By replacing only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical procedure.

We will use titanium for this procedure, which is biocompatible. We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring.”

Tshifularo told local radio station Jacaranda FM:

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“This was one of our patients we have been waiting for, for this reconstruction for almost three years now because they are not affordable … [but] we have done something new in the world and people will remember us for that.”

[WATCH] A pioneering surgical procedure using 3D-printed middle ear bones, developed by Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria (UP) Faculty of Health, may be the answer to conductive hearing loss, a middle ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic diseases.

Posted by Gauteng Health Department on Wednesday, March 13, 2019

While expressing pride that he was the first in the world to revolutionize the new approach to address hearing loss, Tshifulara remains steadfast that the treatment must eventually become accessible and affordable for poor and working-poor patients, such as those who use South Africa’s public hospitals.

Tshifularo continued:

“Because we are doing it in the country and we are going to manufacture here, it has to be affordable for our people in state hospitals.

It will be very accessible because as long as we can train the young doctors to be able to do this operation, then it will be accessible for them as well.”

For Tshifularo, “innovate or perish” sums up his approach to medical science–both in terms of education, research, invention and clinical procedures, and also in terms of devising new solutions to the array of problems faced by struggling communities.

He hopes that he and his team at the university’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) will receive the necessary funding from the government and private sponsors to ensure that this innovative approach to hearing loss treatment can get off the ground.

South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has already pledged that the Department of Health will “do everything in our power to assist and mobilize resources to make sure that Prof. Tshifularo gets all the help he needs for this far-reaching innovation.”

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In World First, Man Receives Heart Transplanted From Gene-Hacked Pig

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In a groundbreaking world first, a 57-year-old man in the U.S. has become the first person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig.

The revolutionary procedure’s apparent success offers hope to hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling with failing vital organs amid scarce supplies of human organs.

The patient, David Bennett of Maryland, is in good shape days after the experimental seven-hour operation took place in Baltimore on Friday, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The surgical procedure is the result of years of fervent efforts by researchers to develop pigs whose organs would be compatible with the human body, and was made possible by recent advances in gene editing and cloning technology. The heart transplant was preceded months ago by a successful kidney transplant in New York which also used an organ harvested from a genetically engineered pig.

“This is a watershed event,” said David Klassen, chief medical officer at the United Network for Organ Sharing, reports New York Times. “Doors are starting to open that will lead, I believe, to major changes in how we treat organ failure.”

The University of Maryland doctors received a special dispensation from regulators to carry out the procedure due to the fact that Bennett’s death was certain in the absence of a transplant.

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Surgeon Bartley Griffith, who took part in the transplant, expressed pride in taking part in bringing the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis,” reports BBC. Roughly 17 people die every day in the U.S. while awaiting transplants, which are in extremely short supply.

“People die all the time on the waiting list, waiting for organs. If we could use genetically engineered pig organs they’d never have to wait, they could basically get an organ as they needed it,” said Christine Lau, Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Plus, we wouldn’t have to fly all over the country at night-time to recover organs to put them into recipients.”

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North Korea Claims It Invented Burritos in 2011 as Mexican Food “Booms”: Report

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English-language tabloid newspapers are abuzz about the latest alleged bombshell from North Korea – that the country’s late ruler and father of the current ruler is being touted as the inventor of the beloved North American dish, the burrito.

According to The Sun, North Korean official news outlet Rodong Sinmun has made the implausible claim that the U.S.-Mexican staple food was invented by Kim Jong Il, who came up with the idea of what he called a “wheat wrap” in 2011, shortly before he suffered heart failure.

The newspaper added that current ruler Kim Jong Un has taken a “meticulous interest” in the food, which is generating “booming” interest among the population.

The dish can also be seen in official footage circulating online, with Pen News airing clips showing a vendor selling the food outside of Kumsong Food Factory in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. Children and soldiers can be seen eagerly devouring the wraps, which apparently contained vegetables including cabbage and carrots.

Meat on a rotating spit, similar to the kind used for tacos al pastor or shawarma wraps, can also be seen in some of the footage, reports Yahoo! News.

The footage also shows a billboard of former ruler Kim Jong Il smiling while standing in a kitchen alongside workers preparing the tubular delicacy.

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North Korea has been submerged in food insecurity and famine-like conditions as a result of decades of sanctions imposed on the country by world powers keen on preventing the country from developing its nuclear energy and weapons programs. The precarious conditions faced by civilians was exacerbated by the pandemic and accompanying health measures.

In October, a U.S. rights investigator blasted the sanctions as inhumane and primarily impacting ordinary citizens in the country.

“People’s access to food is a serious concern and the most vulnerable children and elderly are at risk of starvation,” said Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is officially called. He added that citizens are placed in the unjust position of having “to choose between fear of hunger” and fear of the pandemic thanks to global apathy over ongoing sanctions.

One can only hope that the burrito news is a sign that conditions may be slightly improving for average citizens in the DPRK.

According to popular lore, the burrito grew popular along the U.S.-Mexican border when street vendors used donkeys, or burros, to carry and sell large flour tortillas filled with meat, beans, and vegetables to workers in the area.

Since then, the food item has exploded in popularity in the United States and across the world as a convenient and delicious food, and is often seen as a symbol of Mexican gastronomy despite the dish’s relative obscurity in much of Mexico.

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Keanu Reeves Donated 70% Of His Matrix Earnings To Fighting Cancer

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Keanu Reeves has had no trouble endearing himself to filmgoers and non-filmgoers alike, even if this is more for his off-screen endeavors than his film roles.

The “Bill and Ted” actor reportedly donated a massive chunk of his earnings from the original “The Matrix” to cancer research, according to LADBible.

In 1991, his younger sister Kim was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of blood cancer that she battled for a decade prior to entering remission.

During that period, Keanu served as her caretaker and put his career on the backburner, even going so far as selling his home so that he could become closer to her and devote his life to assisting her.

Reeves, now 57, was given an up-front payment of $10 million for the 1999 sci-fi classic “The Matrix” before the film smashed box office expectations and earned him an additional $35 million.

Keanu apparently didn’t hesitate to donate 70 percent of his earnings – or the huge sum of $31.5 million – to researching leukemia in hopes of sparing future patients and their families the pain that the Reeves family underwent.

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Since then, Reeves has quietly poured his Hollywood earnings into cancer research, even establishing his own private foundation for the purpose.

“I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research,” Reeves told Ladies Home Journal in 2009. “I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”

In 2020, Reeves also auctioned off a 15-minute Zoom date with himself to raise funds for Camp Rainbow Gold, a summer program for children with cancer.

Since his breakout role as an aloof teen headbanger in the 1986 drama “River’s Edge” followed by his iconic performance as the airheaded stoner Theodore “Ted” Logan in the “Bill & Ted’s” films, Keanu has become beloved by audiences.

However, he has since far outgrown his public persona as a simple airhead who says “Whoa” in the SoCal dude-bro accent and is now seen as the quintessential nice guy of Hollywood, who not only doesn’t take himself too seriously but is also distinguished by his big heart and generosity.

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