Doctor’s Diary: The marvels of kidney donation

This year, it so happens, marks the 60th anniversary of the first successful kidney transplant, when American surgeon Joseph Murray eliminated a kidney from Ronald Herrick and transplanted it into his identical twin brother Richard, then in the terminal stages of renal failure from the progressive inflammatory problem glomerulonephritis. His new kidney functioned immediately and inside of a couple of weeks he was effectively ample to be discharged from hospital, promptly marrying the nurse who had looked following him in the recovery room soon after his operation.

Just lately retired doctor Dr Chris Burns-Cox, an altruistic donor when he was 72, has set up a charity, Give a Kidney, to motivate other individuals. This has grow to be a sensible prospect for many largely due to another health-related marvel – keyhole surgical treatment – that permits the surgeon to get rid of the kidney by means of a small incision in the flank. “Donation is no big deal for the donor, but a significant one for the recipient,” Dr Burns-Cox observes, anticipating a time when “the days of suffering and even dying on a waiting list for a kidney transplant will be over”.

Mystery smell

The frustrating knowledge of the gentleman, as featured final week, who finds that cooking the family supper brings about him temporarily to get rid of his sense of smell has prompted an fascinating suggestion from a former surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Mr J Buchanan. He proposes really plausibly this might be relevant to the heat of the kitchen stove or cooker aggravating some lower-grade catarrhal irritation of the nose and sinuses – therefore diminishing the perception of smell as mediated through the olfactory nerve.

This is really distinct from the scenario with the gentleman who can nevertheless appreciate the bouquet of his fine wines (consequently the olfactory nerve have to be intact) but finds they taste “disgusting”. This would imply some disturbance of the nerves accountable for relaying sensation from one or other of the 4 types of taste buds (sweet, sour, salt or bitter) at the back of the tongue.

Canine fury

This week’s health care query comes courtesy of Mrs CM of Kent, writing on behalf of her husband, 78. He is “a sort person often fond of cats and dogs”, but lately, when strolling to the neighborhood village, the dogs he has encountered have had to be held back, snapping and growling, by their owners and he has twice been “nipped”. She wonders whether or not the canines may probably be sensing some chemical of 1 or other of the a number of prescription drugs he will take and would be more than interested to hear of any similar knowledge.

Summer digestion

Lastly, my thanks to a reader for passing on her most fascinating treatment for heartburn and acid reflux, prompted by her observation that she is much much less troubled by her symptoms in the summer season compared to the winter months.

She speculated that this might be relevant to the truth that during the summer she goes swimming most days and that plying up and down the pool performing the breaststroke might strengthen her diaphragm, providing it a tighter grip on the oesophagus and thus avoiding the upward reflux of acid from the abdomen. Accordingly, since Christmas she has taken to incorporating into her hold-match regime the practice of simulating the very same muscular movements as people involved in doing the breaststroke. “I have not been troubled by heartburn given that,” she writes.

Email medical concerns confidentially to Dr James LeFanu at drjames@telegraph.co.united kingdom. Answers will be published each and every Friday, at telegraph.co.uk/well being

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