Entries in Mouth (2)


Egyptian Baby with Two Mouths Receives Lifesaving Surgery in US

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Fifteen-month-old Rokaya Mohamed traveled from her home in Egypt to Los Angeles to receive a surgery that doctors had never performed until last Wednesday.

Rokaya was born with two full mouths -- both included an upper and lower jaw.  At birth, doctors told Rokaya's parents that their baby wouldn't survive.  But she proved them wrong when she continued to grow and get healthier on the liquid diet her parents fed her.

"The X-rays, the ultrasound didn't show us how her face is going to be," Rokaya's father, Tamer Mohamed, told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV through an interpreter.  "We are going to fight to change her life."

Dr. William Magee III, medical director of international programs in the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, heard of Rokaya's condition.  While he and his team have performed facial cleft surgeries on more than 100 children from more than 50 countries, he had never seen a child born with two full formed mouths.  It is perhaps the only known case of its kind.  Nevertheless, Magee III believed he could transform Rokaya's face and, in turn, save her life.

"We spent a lot of time planning the surgery, but we made some final decisions on how to go about it while in the operating room," said Magee III.  "The face is made of multiple pieces, so it's like pieces of a puzzle.  The cool thing is that we were able to use all those extra pieces in Rokaya's face."

While Rokaya will have to undergo many more surgeries in her life, Magee III said he is confident that the Egyptian team of doctors will be able to successfully take over Rokaya's medical needs.

"We're very well-experienced in terms of bringing in children around the world for these surgeries," said Magee III.  "We thought we could do an excellent job and get her home safely.  She's done quite well, better than we anticipated."

Rokaya was released from the intensive care unit (ICU) Monday.  She will likely be in the U.S. for another few weeks as she recovers from the surgery.

Nonprofits, including Mending Kids International, the Children of War, and Operation Smile -- an international medical charity committed to healing children's smiles -- helped Rokaya's family pay to travel to the U.S. and receive the surgery.  Operation Smile was founded by Magee's father, Dr. William Magee Jr. in 1982.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mouth Bacteria Mix Might Signal Pancreatic Cancer

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Apple founder Steve Jobs’ recent death from pancreatic cancer focused attention on one of the fastest-spreading and deadliest malignancies for which there are no obvious red flags or screening tests.

But now, UCLA researchers may have ignited a spark of hope that a saliva test could one day detect pancreatic cancer.

People particularly dread pancreatic cancer because only 5 percent of patients are alive five years after they’re diagnosed.  Jobs was more fortunate than the majority of patients with the diagnosis, because his neuroendocrine tumor was more treatable and he survived nearly eight years from the time doctors found it.

The new optimism centered around saliva tests begins with the basic premise that the human mouth is a virtual bacterial zoo, home to more than 700 species.  There are good bacteria that help with digestion and immunity, and there are bad bacteria linked to gum disease that also turn up in artery-clogging plaque associated with heart disease.

Writing in the journal Gut, Dr. James J. Ferrell and his colleagues reported finding dramatic differences in the mixtures of bacterial species in the mouths of patients with pancreatic cancer and of healthy people.  Differences also emerged between the levels of particular oral bacteria in men and women with chronic pancreatitis -- an inflammatory disorder and risk factor for pancreatic cancer -- and healthy men and women.

The study, which appeared online Wednesday, was based on an initial comparison of bacterial species in the saliva of 10 patients whose pancreatic cancer hadn’t spread to other organs, and 10 healthy people.  When the researchers analyzed quantities of various bacterial species in the various saliva samples, they found significantly more Granulicatella adiacens bacteria in the spit of cancer patients than in the saliva of healthy comparison subjects.  They had significantly lower levels of Streptococcus mitis and Neisseria elongata bacteria than the healthy controls.

To bolster their findings, they dug a little deeper by then examining saliva samples from 28 pancreatic cancer patients, 28 healthy people and 27 people with chronic pancreatitis.  The G. adiacens levels were higher in the cancer patients than either group without cancer.

So far, they’re unable to say whether different combinations of bacteria are a cause or an effect of pancreatic cancer.  The study didn’t examine changes in oral bacteria after pancreatic cancer patients had their tumors removed, nor could it track changes in oral bacteria populations through the course of disease.

However, they said, their results suggested that saliva “is a scientifically feasible and credible biomarker source” for diseases outside the mouth and is potentially attractive because it’s non-invasive and inexpensive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio