How a $2 toy ball saved a little girl’s life

By Kate Sikora
September 24, 2008 12:00am
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph – AU 

The next time you play table tennis you may look at ping-pong balls differently…flagranny2

IT costs as little as $2 and until now has been considered little more than a toy, but a simple ping-pong ball is keeping liver transplant patient Mackenzie Argaet alive.

In a world first, a Sydney surgeon has used the radical method in a transplant operation, which has won him international accolades.

Dr Albert Shun, from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, used the unorthodox approach when confronted with a medical problem while operating on the two-year-old.

Born with biliary artresia, Mackenzie, from Canberra, needed the life-saving operation earlier this year.

But after inserting a portion of the adult-size liver in the little girl, Dr Shun discovered it was too big and was placing pressure on her blood vessels which could have been fatal.

Having heard about the use of ping-pong balls in operations overseas, he decided to test their suitability in transplant surgery.

“I rang my wife and asked her to go to Big W and buy me some ping-pong balls,” he said.

“I was using a sponge as a back-up purpose but there was no way I could close her up the way it was.

“She is the first (transplant patient) in the world that the ping-pongs have been used for these purposes.”

In Mackenzie’s case, the ball keeps the liver off the arteries. Since Mackenzie’s operation, Dr Shun and his team have performed the procedure several times.

However, the ball has only remained in the patients for a few days to allow the swelling to reduce after the transplant.

Dr Shun said Mackenzie’s liver would grow around the ball without causing an infection.

“There shouldn’t be any complications. We are in a unique situation in Australia because we have a low donor rate so we have to be adaptable,” he said.

Unaware she has a foreign object inside her body, little Mackenzie is now running around like every toddler her age.

Her parents Letice Darswell and Guy Argaet are thrilled their daughter is well after she was so seriously ill from birth.

“We didn’t get told about the ping-pong until after the operation,” Ms Darswell said.

“It was a shock when (Dr Shun) came out of surgery.”

Biliary artresia is a rare gastro-intestinal disorder in newborns where the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the intestine are destroyed. Mackenzie’s liver became so scarred that she began to develop cirrhosis and needed a transplant.

“She is so normal now. She is a happy kid,” Ms Darswell said.

Advertisements

World’s Shortest Man Stops Traffic in New York City

Friday, September 19, 2008
Source: Associated Press

A short story – Smallest man is 2’5.37″ to launch 2009 Guinness’s World Book of Records

He Pingping from Inner Mongolia, the world's smallest man, sits on the lap of Svetlana Pankratova from Russia

He Pingping, the smallest man in the world

NEW YORK — It apparently takes a visit by the world’s shortest man to bring New York City to a halt.

Cab drivers, police officers and other busy New Yorkers paused in their hurried lives to look at tiny He Pingping as he walked along 42nd Street in Manhattan on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Chinese man is 2 feet 5.37 inches tall. He was in the city to launch the 2009 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. He is listed as the shortest man on the planet.

His brother-in-law told the Daily News in Friday editions that coming to New York is “like a dream” for Pingping, who lives in Mongolia and was born with primordial dwarfism.

Crowds in Manhattan stopped to gawk wherever he went. His brother-in-law said Pingping likes the attention.

Strange ‘Ant From Mars’ Discovered in Amazon Rainforest

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
By Andrea Thompson

[Ants evolved more than 120 million years ago]

"Ant from Mars"—A newly discovered species of a blind, subterranean predator — dubbed the “Ant from Mars”  is likely a descendant of one of the very first ants to evolve on Earth, a new study finds.

Christian Rabeling, an evolutionary biology graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, found the only known specimen of the new ant species in dead plant material on the ground in the Amazon rainforest at the Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria in Manaus, Brazil, in 2003.

Rabeling and his colleagues named the ant Martialis heureka (“ant from Mars”) because they’d never seen an ant like it before.

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com’s Natural Science Center.

The ant is well-adapted for its underground home, with a long, pale body and no eyes. It also has long, slender forceps-like mandibles that researchers suspect the ant uses to capture prey.

M. heureka not only constitutes a new species, but a new genus and subfamily of ants as well. The new subfamily, one of 21 ant subfamilies, is the first new one to be named by scientists since 1967.

Rabeling says the discovery, detailed in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will help biologists better understand the biodiversity and evolution of ants.

For rest of article click [ HERE ]

Presidential election-2008 My thoughts and rants !!!!!

Send in the clowns!!!  I really have to laugh at the Presidential election this year as it is one of the most screwed up election I have witnessed.  By the actions of the media you would think it a horrible thing for a woman, and a mother at that, to even consider running for an office, what, with children,?  What about a man as a father, I guess that is acceptable and nothing to take in consideration that his duties as a father might be interrupted or are they saying a father isn’t as important as a mother???? 

Let’s think back to when Bobby Kennedy was a father of 9-10 and running for President.  I guess it doesn’t matter how many children a man has to be responsible for to run for the office but let a woman run and my God she is choosing politics over her family. 

Has anyone noticed how many women commentators and anchors there are and you know what they have children too but let’s not point to the media it’s the media’s job to point to everyone else.  I particulary notice that Fox News has many segments with women anchors and also send women out in the fields to report on stories, tropical storms and hurricanes.  Are they considered a bad parent because of their occupation?????

I personally am sick of hearing about Sarah Palin and the fact that she is a mother and one with a special needs child.  Does that make her any less capable of doing a good job as VP.  I have seen quite a few VP’s who have done absolutely nothing.  I want to see an election that speaks to a platform of intentions I don’t want to hear a candidate say if I’m elected I will do this or that as they don’t always have the last word.  Show me a candidate who says if I’m elected I will TRY and not I will.  To me that makes more sense and I’d vote for that one in a heart beat. 

Let’s have an election not based on sex or race but based on what they will try to do for us, especially the middle and lower class plus senior citizens as they get the brunt of it.  As a senior citizen myself I see medicare being reduced each year and health benefits are almost zero.  Health benefits are for the rich and the big boys on the hill who don’t have to pay for any and have the sky as the limit on their medical care.  I’m sure not a one of them has to worry each month as to whether they eat or spend their medicare benefits on prescription drugs. 

OK, I have vented and could go on and on but for my sake and yours I’m going to end it here.  If anyone would like to share their thoughts I’d like to hear from  you……..flagranny2