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A rare disease that leaves “Stranger Things” star with no collar bones

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The star actor of the popular show “Stranger things” on Netflix has alone raised awareness about a rare genetic condition called cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), also known as cleidocranial dysostosis. The 17 years old actor, Gaten Matarazzo, is one of the stars of the show playing the role of Dustin Henderson. He was born with CCD.

CCD is a very rare condition that mainly affects bone and teeth development. In this condition, the collar bones are either absent or poorly developed. Their shoulders are sloppy and narrow. Therefore, the individual can bring his shoulders closer to each other in front of the body.

Among the dental abnormalities, CCD causes a delay in primary or baby teeth loss and appearance of secondary or adult teeth as well as misalignment of jaws and unusually-shaped teeth.

The other symptoms of CCD abnormal curvature of the spine, broad thumbs and short fingers, short forearms, a wide and short skull, prominent forehead and others. The symptoms vary among individuals, even within the same family. CCD develops due to mutations in the RUNX gene. This gene codes for proteins involved in the development of bones, cartilage, and teeth.

The writers added the condition in the script. The character of Matarazzo referred to the condition in the very first episode. Later, he got dentures. The actor has already discussed it in several tv talk shows.

Dustin, the character of Matarazzo, fights against the bullies by making the statement “I have told you a million times. My teeth are coming in. It is called cleidocranial dysplasia” in one of the episodes of the show.

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Dustin shared the photos of his treatment including surgeries to spread awareness regarding CCD and decreasing the sense of shame from people suffering from it.

Researchers from Oklahoma State University, Tulsa stated that after this exposure, the Google searches regarding CCD have sharply increased by over 94%.

After the premiere of the 3rd season of Stranger Things in July 2019, an informative page reported about a 125-fold increase in views.

For CCD, there is no complete cure. The supportive treatments include the management of individual symptoms including the provision of calcium and vitamin D for promoting bone development ad strength and dental care, as these individuals are usually osteopenic.

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, CCD is a very rare genetic condition with a birth prevalence of 1 in a million. In medical literature, only 1000 cases of this condition are reported.

The study published in the journal of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck analyzed data from Google searches and trends as well as CCD-related organizations after each season of Stranger Things.

Also read– A Novel Way to Diagnose an Early Stage Cancer

Researchers reported that after each season, they found a tremendous spike in searches related to CCD above the expected trend. They showed that there was approximately 11.2% and 12.9% increase in Google searches for CCD after season 1 and 2 respectively. However, the highest spike was observed after the 3rd season, with an increase of 94.4% in related Google searches.

The authors of the study wrote that raising awareness has contributed to increasing funding for researches, early diagnosis, increasing treatment choices, reducing the sense of isolation among affected individuals and improving the quality of life for them.

Dustin recently shared the photos of his treatment including surgeries to spread awareness regarding CCD and decreasing the sense of shame from people suffering from it.

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Possibility of Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients

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Recent researches revealed that people with mild COVID-19 symptoms have a chance of developing fatal brain disorders.

COVID-19 is an infection that differently attacks every individual. Some people develop acute respiratory problems while others only develop mild symptoms like fever, cough etc. Mostly, doctors tend to ignore the patients with mild symptoms as they get normal on their own. However, the recent reports revealed some shocking and disturbing detail about the virus.

Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients

Coronavirus can trigger brain disorders in patients. Scientists have warned that doctors may be overlooking signs of brain disorders in patients with mild coronavirus symptoms. Neurologists in U.K. found over 40 coronavirus patients with severe brain inflammation, nerve damage, delirium and even a stroke. This is a serious condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem). Cases of Adem have risen from one case a month to 2-3 weekly cases in the months of April and May.

Also Read: Cannabis Maybe A Cure For Various Cancers

Doctors are particularly worried because no virus has previously affected the brain as COVID-19 is. A 55-year-old COVID-19 patient without any history of mental illness, started behaving oddly the day after getting discharged from the medical center. She was having recurrent hallucinations. Another 47 year-old woman was admitted with a headache. However, later, she became unresponsive. The doctors conducted an emergency surgery to cut out a portion of her skull to release pressure on her inflammed brain.

Also Read: Human Trials for Coronavirus Vaccines Have Started in The U.K.

 

The way COVID-19 affects the brain hasn’t been observed before with any other virus. This could very well be due to the fact that the virus has numerous mutations. However, that is just speculation for now.

So, what needs to be done?

Well, clinicians need to be on their toes about these complications of the coronavirus. Patients with memory issues, fatigue, weakness, numbness, or cognitive symptoms need special attention. Healthcare workers, GPs, and physicians should also consult neurologists in regard to these cases.

Note that these are all precautions. It does not neglect the fact that complete recovery isn’t possible. In most cases, the coronavirus does not involve the brain.

Because of the intensity of the symptoms of the virus most of the patients in hospitals cannot be examined through brain scanners or other procedures. Therefore, the full spectrum of brain disorders caused by the corona virus cannot be determined just yet. Efficient research needs to be done to determine the complete depth of the complications.

One major concern!

One major concern with this new discovery is the possibility of the virus to leave the affected people with brain disorders that could only become apparent later in life. The number of such cases might not be as staggering, but that is still a major concern.

This has happened before in flu outbreak in 1918. After the pandemic, almost a million patients came up with brain disorders.

It is far too early to give a verdict, but it could still haunt the people like a ghost. Like most subtle brain disorders, the effects might not become apparent at once. However, in the years to come it could affect the lifestyles of a lot of people.

One should hope that it doesn’t come to that. But, with a pandemic affecting people by thousands everyday, being alert is the wisest thing to do.

 

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Pennsylvania: Lt. Gov. Fetterman Urges Cannabis Legalization

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Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urges Cannabis Legalization to reduce the impact of the budget deficit. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has suffered a lot. Due to the economic setback, the state faces a budget shortfall of $3.2 billion.

Fetterman tweeted to support the legalization of recreational marijuana. He says that legalization of marijuana will open new avenues to generate tax revenue. According to Fetterman, the legalization of marijuana could generate half of this COVID-19 deficit. It will also be helpful in reforming the state prison system.

Recently, Lt. Gov. Fetterman took to Twitter in support of cannabis legalization.

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Catering For Budget Deficit

In an economy greatly hit by the global pandemic, the legalization of recreational cannabis will help providing thousands of jobs to the unemployed.

Majority people of Pennsylvania support the legalization. Fetterman is of the viewpoint that cannabis in Pennsylvania could bring up to 500 million dollars into the state’s coffers which is why he urges Cannabis Legalization.

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Pennsylvania has a big marijuana market. Its legalization will allow Pennsylvania to stand on its own feet.

Some other politicians, however, disagree with the notion of legalization. They think that instead of adding new taxes, they should try to control the spending. The bill to legalize the adult use of Marijuana is in the committee. However, nothing can be said about the legalization with certainty.

Also Read: Police Caught 50 kgs of Cannabis from Plungington Area

However, According to State Sen. Stefano, his committee is reviewing new research. He told KDKA’s Meghan Schiller that the biggest hurdle is that there is no measurement technique for determining THC concentration in the human body. He said he’s hesitant to move forward, until there’s a way to determine the amount of intoxication.

The State Senator said that the bill was in his committee and he didn’t have plans to bring it up anytime soon. There is still room for a lot of research to be done. The decision to legalize adult-use marijuana isn’t a very wise decision without taking all the factors into account.

However, it’s research business owner Posteraro sees this as an opportunity. He hopes that it doesn’t take too much time to legalize it, because opportunities like these seldom present themselves.

Whether or not Cannabis should be legalized still remains open to debate, but there is no denying could help the nation face a huge financial deficit.

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Cannabis Rendered Helpful in Saving Lives of COVID-19 Patients

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Recent Researches revealed how Cannabis plant can help in saving lives of COVID-19 patients. The active components found in Cannabis Plant make it seem as a possible treatment for coronavirus infections.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabis

The University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are conducting further researches to study the utility of CBD to check its utility in treating inflammation of lungs caused by coronavirus. The anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabis can be especially valuable in improving issues related to behaviour, immunity and brain.

Researchers explained that the infection is related to a cytokine superstorm, that causes symptoms like cough, fever and muscle pain. The increased inflammation can even cause pneumonia and breathing difficulties. Breathing difficulties are the number one cause of deaths due to COVID-19.

Also Read: Cannabis Found Effective in Treating Pain with Zero Side Effects

Reduction in the Amount of Cytokines

Previously, researches conducted on CBD show that it can bring down the level of several cytokines, that cause inflammation, including IL-6. It also helps in controlling interleukin (IL)-2, interferon gamma, IL-1α and β, inducible protein-10, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and tumor necrosis factor-α. Excess of these leads to severe COVID-19 conditions. Moreover, CBD also increases the  interferons production. Interferon is a protein that prevents viruse replication and activates immune cells.

CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have worked wonders for asthma patients by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine production. CBD also reduces pulmonary fibrosis. This condition causes scarring, thickening and damage to the lung tissue, along with making breathing considerably more painful. COVID-19 actually leaves patients with pulmonary fibrosis. This is the major reason why Cannabis can greatly help COVID-19 patients.

An insight into how COVID-19 works

Much like other respiratory pathogens, COVID-19 is also spread through respiratory droplets. However, it also has potential for contact and aerosol spread.

Coronavirus makes it way into the human body through receptor-mediation. This is done through angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2). ACE2 is present in lung tissue, oral and nasal mucosa, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and testes.

This information opens door to a new way of hindering the spread of coronavirus. Modulation of ACE2 could prove fruitful in this regard.

Cannabis’ prospects

A special strain of cannabis can render this function. Through ACE2 modulation it could block the virus’ entry into the human body. Nipping the evil in the bud.

Basically, ACE2 acts like doorways to the virus. The main idea is to temporarily alter the extent of ACE2 gene expression. Therefore, it could very well make the human body a no entry zone for the virus. The same strain could also be used to stop the virus’ propagation if it has made its way into a person’s body.

This is where Cannabis sativa comes into play. Plants with high CBD content have been proposed as a way to modulate the ACE2 gene expression in target tissues.

At this point in time, it is more of a theory than a confirmed fact. However, it sure opens a new avenue with promising prospects. If it proves successful, the next step would be to start manufacture that particular strain into a medication.

It sure looks like CBD properties of cannabis can prove fruitful in the treatment and prevention of coronavirus. However, further research will prove whether it is the case or not.

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