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article imageRare childhood disease linked to bacterium

By Tim Sandle     Oct 8, 2020 in Science
The rare childhood illness pediatric hydrocephalus (a form of fluid on the brain of a child) has been attributed to a bacterium. This new insight may lead to new treatments and it will further scientific understanding.
The disease hydrocephalus results in children needing to undergo neurosurgery. Researchers have long thought that the disease originates following after an infection. While the illness is manifest globally, the cases are highest within low- and middle-income countries located in sub-Saharan Africa.
Hydrocephalus refers to the build-up of fluid in the cavities (termed ventricles) located deep within the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain. The main risk is brain damage and if the condition is left untreated, it is invariably fatal.
The video below explains more about the disease:
New medical research has found, based on samples of cerebrospinal fluid, that the condition is formed by a bacterial infection. The Ugandan research has also identified the microbe of concern. This was identified by an examination of a series of samples collected from 100 consecutive infant cases of the disease.
Genomic sequencing was used to identify the organism, and the outcome was to pinpoint the bacterium Paenibacillus thiaminolyticus. Based on this, the scientists hope to develop new, more sensitive tests for the condition.
The researchers found that the cell count of Paenibacillus was correlated with brain imaging scores,of the type used to measure the extent of hydrocephalus (and to assess the levels of immune cells), which detail the severity of an infection. The likelihood was confirmed by injecting the isolated organism into the brains of mice, and observing similar effects.
The research findings have been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The research finding is titled “Paenibacillus infection with frequent viral coinfection contributes to postinfectious hydrocephalus in Ugandan infants.”
More about pediatric hydrocephalus, Medical, Bacteria
 
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