Friday, August 17, 2012


Charla Nash, the victim of a horrific attack by a 200-pound chimpanzee, appeared Friday at a Connecticut legal hearing, where officials are deciding whether she can sue the state for $150 million.

The attack occured when Nash had gone to visit her friend, Sandra Herold, back in 2009. She had just gotten out of her car when Herold’s chimp spotted her, went berserk and attacked. A terrified Herold dialed 911 and Charla was rushed to the hospital where doctors managed to save her life, but not her face or her hands.
Speaking clearly and looking remarkably recovered from the disfiguring attack and her 2011 face transplant, Nash spoke exclusively to NBC News about her recovery and her hopes for the future.
"I need to keep building up my stamina," Nash said. "Hopefully by Christmas I could get hands."
Back in May 2011 doctors gave Charla her new face, from an anonymous donor, in a grueling 20-hour surgery. The 30-member surgical team, under the leadership of Dr. Bohdan Pomahac at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, performed a groundbreaking full face and double hand transplant. She later lost the hands due to complications, but her new face thrived.
Charla Nash was severely disabled after she was attacked by a friend's chimp. As time went on and the swelling went down, Charla's new face began to mold to her underlying bone structure, giving her an appearance reminiscent of the way she looked before the horrifying attack in 2009. Looking at Nash on Friday, it was hard to imagine that just three years ago she had no nose, lips, or ears. Though the right side of her mouth droops a bit because of nerve damage, Nash’s face looks otherwise quite normal.
“Overall, it’s really superb – a remarkable result,” said Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, a professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Chief of Plastic Surgery at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Rodriguez, who led the team that transplanted a face in March of this year, suspects that Nash will continue to improve with time as nerves continue to rewire and the facial muscles get more use. Nash told NBC that she's been exercising to build up her muscles, and demonstrated with pride how she can now close her lips fully.Experts say it takes months for the nerves emanating from transplanted faces to connect with a patient’s brain.
In Nash’s case, “she is more than a year past her surgery and the nerves have started to grow back so she can make facial expressions and do the kinds of things a normal face does,” said Dr. Daniel Alam, section head of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Alam was Nash’s initial reconstructive surgeon and took part in her transplant surgery.
“The holy grail for us is to learn to make the nerves work better,” Alam said. “Right now, we can make them work and recover function, but there tends to be some asymmetry, with the nerves on one side working better than the other.” The magical part, Alam said, is not that the transplant survives and molds to the patient’s face, but that it actually hooks up with the region of the brain that tells it how and when to move.
“Inside your brain there’s a part near the ear, called the facial motor, that tells the face what it needs to do,” Alam explained. “Its branches tell the eyes when to close, the mouth when to smile. Each tiny movement of the face is like a note in a piece of music. If you think of the face as an instrument, the brain is sending all the notes to that instrument and making it play.”The process doesn’t end when doctors put in their last stitch, though. After surgeons connect up what they can, the brain does its own bit of rewiring.
“It’s fascinating,” Alam said. “Six months to a year after the transplant, the recipient’s nerves grow into the face. So you get a hybrid. You’ve got the donor face, but your own nerves grow into the muscles and tell them what to do.”Nash said she was tired after the hearing because she's not used to such lengthy public outings, but overall said, "I'm doing OK."
Nash, who has amassed millions of dollars in medical and other bills, said she's holding out hope she will be granted permission to sue the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which she holds responsible for not seizing the animal despite a state biologist's warning it was dangerous, according to the Associated Press.
Assistant Attorney General Maite Barainca told Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. that Nash deserves sympathy for her plight and admiration for the courage she has shown in dealing with her situation, but argued that the state should not be held liable for actions of the privately owned animal, the AP reported.
A decision on the state's motion to dimiss is expected to be issued within 30 days. If the commissioner rules against Nash, she can ask state legislators to overrule the decision. If the state's motion to dismiss is denied, a trial-like hearing will be held. Then the commissioner would then have to decide whether to allow Nash to sue the DEEP in superior court, according to the Associated Press.

Charla Nash's family has established a fund for her care at


Alarming rise in the number of children needing hospital treatment for dog attacks•Three-quarters of children admitted had to undergo surgery

Hospital admissions for injuries caused by dogs rose by 5.2 per cent in England last year, with young children suffering the most wounds.
New figures revealed that 6,450 people were admitted in the 12 months to April 2012, up from 6,130 the year before. Children aged under 10 were the worst-affected group, accounting for one in six of admissions. Three-quarters of them needed surgery, according to the data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.


Nearly 9% of the patients seeking cosmetic surgery in 2011 were men, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and plastic surgeons say the number of male patients is growing. Men often seek gynecomastia treatment, liposuction, blepharoplasty and dermal fillers, according to plastic surgeons Richard Zeff and Charles Gaudet and data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Gaudet said men "know the procedures are available and they are taking advantage of the confidence it gives them." SeacoastOnline (Portsmouth, N.H.)



Utah plastic surgeons remind patients to check out doctors

The Utah Plastic Surgery Society is running billboards reminding patients to ensure their doctor is board-certified in plastic surgery before getting cosmetic or reconstructive procedures. Increasingly, doctors who are board-certified in other specialties, such as dentistry or OB-GYN, are offering cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. "A lot of these doctors will go to a cosmetic boot camp, learn the procedures, come back on Monday morning, and they're doing them," plastic surgeon Grant Fairbanks said. KTVX-TV (Salt Lake City) (8/14)


Chin implants have become more popular than ever. Studies show they're up 71% from last year, making chin implants or chin augmentation the fastest-growing trend in plastic surgery. (8/17)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Scientists print ears, grow muscle at regenerative institute

Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have used cells taken from patients and grown in the lab to engineer body parts. They have used 3D printing to make ears, have grown urethras for children who suffered pelvic injuries and are engineering muscle to repair injuries

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Study: 1 in 20 Cases of Melanoma Linked to Indoor Tanning

Fully one in 20 cases of melanoma is related to use of indoor tanning beds, new research suggests. According to the study, indoor tanners have a 20% increased risk of skin cancer, and this jumps to 87% if they start using tanning beds before they turn 35.
“Sunbed use is associated with a significant increase in risk of melanoma [and] the cancerous damage associated with snubbed use is substantial and could be avoided by strict regulations,” report researchers led by Philippe Augier, director of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France. The findings appear online in the BMJ.
Researchers analyzed 27 studies published between 1981 and 2012. In all, they identified more than 11,000 cases of skin cancer. They stated that more than 3,400 of the almost 64,000 new cases of melanoma in Western Europe each year are directly attributable to tanning bed use. Tanning bed use is also estimated to cause 800 deaths from melanoma each year. Put another way: each trip to the tanning salon increases melanoma risk by about 1.8%.
The ban the tan movement continues to take flight across the globe. The number of countries with nationwide indoor tanning legislation restricting use by young people 18 years or younger increased from two countries (France and Brazil) in 2003 to 11 countries in 2011, according to a recent study in the Archives of Dermatology. The 11 countries were France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Belgium, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Brazil.
In the US, New York state, California, Vermont, and Rhode Island have banned most indoor tanning by minors. Ban the tan legislation is pending in many states. The Affordable Care Act include includes a 10% tax on indoor tanning.


Demand for cosmetic surgery in Dubai increases by 100%

New figures released by the Dubai Health Authority have revealed a huge spike in the number of people having cosmetic surgery procedures in Dubai.

According to the organisation, 68,000 men and women underwent surgical and non-surgical treatments at the country's clinics last year – double 2010's total.
Some of the most popular treatments include skin peels and laser rejuvenation treatments, which are designed to leave skin looking more healthy and youthful, as well as nose reshaping operations known as rhinoplasty.
The figures revealed that the most popular non-surgical treatment in 2011 however was laser hair removal.
Top surgeons in Dubai have claimed that an increasing number of professionals in the country are choosing to undergo cosmetic procedures in order to boost their career prospects, with workers in their 40s and 50s keen to be on a par physically with younger employees.
The fact that many procedures can now be carried out with minimal downtime, or even none at all, has helped to boost the popularity of non-surgical treatments.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Obamacare: Its Latest Assault on Religious Freedom

With every passing day, Obamacare becomes more entrenched as the law of the land. The latest reality is a Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that requires health plans to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Even an employer or organization with religious objections can be forced by the government to provide coverage for medications and procedures against which they have deeply-held convictions. This is an intentional act of discrimination against people's religious beliefs and a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Obamacare HHS mandate is being challenged in court. One of those challenges is from a family-owned company that simply wants the right to administer its health plan in a way that is consistent with the owner's beliefs.
It's also worth noting that forcing insurance companies to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs "free of charge" means the cost is likely to be passed along to that insurer's customers, even those who morally oppose contraceptives and/or abortifacients.
Federal mandates should never infringe on personal liberties!