Personal Perspective Paper: Birth Defects
A person’s overall health plays a big role in their life and affects how they take on the day to day challenges they encounter. New medical advancements have developed ways to enhance the poor health of those who suffer from genetic disabilities and lifestyle diseases. Technology has tremendously improved the human way of life, especially in the medical field. However, medical experts are still baffled by a variety of rare physical birth defects, such as sirenomelia, craniopagus parasiticus, and progeria. Preventive treatments and long-term solutions to such diseases are still unknown. Usually fatal within a few days after birth, sirenomelia, better known as mermaid syndrome, is an uncommon birth defect where the infant is born with fused legs. This defect normally disrupts the formation of the vital organs and the patients suffer from abnormal kidneys, and urinary bladder development and function. Very few have survived the internal complications, but a very limited number of those with the condition are able to live past the normal life expectancy of a few days. Shiloh Pepin was one of these extraordinary patients who lived to be ten years old with her mermaid condition, but sadly died of pneumonia in2009. She developed into a bubbly little girl with an astounding personality. Doctors are still unsure as to what causes such a condition. Another mysterious birth defect is craniopagus parasiticus, which occurs in about 5 of every 10,000,000 births. This condition occurs when the skulls of two conjoined twins fuse together, yet the bodies of the twins remain separate. In most cases, one of the twins is fully developed and the underdeveloped twin attaches at the head, acting as a parasite. The difference between the condition of a parasitic twin and conjoined twins is that, with parasitic twins, one infant develops completely while the “parasite” stops development during gestation. The only existing...
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