Sunday March 24, 2019

Paralysis Causing Illness In Children Baffles Doctors

Parents are urged to have their children take basic precautions, such as washing hands and using insect spray to ward off mosquito bites.

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paralysis
Children inspect a Blue Morpho butterfly at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Oct. 3, 2018. Little is known about acute flaccid myelitis, but it is known that more than 90 percent of the confirmed cases are in children 18 years old or younger. The average age of patients is 4.. VOA

Federal and state health officials are baffled by a mysterious and rare illness that seems to target children, causing paralysis.

As of Tuesday, 62 cases of what doctors are calling acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in 22 states. Sixty-five suspected cases are being investigated.

“There is a lot we don’t know about AFM and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness,” Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday.

What is known about the illness is that more than 90 percent of the confirmed cases are in children 18 years old or younger. The average age of patients is 4.

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But what is particularly confounding doctors is that the number of cases spikes only every other year. Pixabay

Victims generally suffer from muscle weakness and some paralysis of the face, neck, back, arms and legs. The paralysis sets in about a week after the children have come down with fever and respiratory illness.

There is no specific treatment, and most of the victims recover. But the long-term effects are still unknown.

Messonnier called it a “pretty dramatic disease.”

Health experts have ruled out some causes, including poliovirus and West Nile virus.

But what is particularly confounding doctors is that the number of cases spikes only every other year — with larger numbers in 2014, 2016 and this year — and fewer cases in 2015 and 2017.

Also Read: The Woe’s Of Indonesian Children

Parents are urged to have their children take basic precautions, such as washing hands and using insect spray to ward off mosquito bites. Doctors are also urging that vaccines be kept up to date.

Any child experiencing weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs should be examined immediately. (VOA)

Next Story

Childhood Maltreatment Strongest Risk Factor for Depression in Adulthood: Lancet

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome

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Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression. Pixabay

Facing trauma in childhood can significantly change the structure of the brain, which may result in severe depression which could even be recurrent in adulthood, say researchers.

The results from MRI scan images suggest that both childhood maltreatment and recurring depression are associated with similar reductions in the surface area of the insular cortex, part of the brain that regulates emotion and self-awareness.

This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which found childhood maltreatment one of the strongest risk factors for major depression in adulthood.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments,” said lead researcher Nils Opel from the University of Munster in Germany.

The study included 110 patients aged 18 to 60 years. Of the 75 patients who experienced a relapse, 48 had experienced one additional episode, seven reported two episodes, and six experienced three episodes.

Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression.

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This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Pixabay

ALSO READ: 4 Indian-American Teenagers Awarded for Inventions in Environmental Issues

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome.

Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how the findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes, the study noted. (IANS)