DNA Sequencing Diagnoses Boy’s Mysterious Bacterial Disease
This is the first time doctors have used DNA sequencing for emergency diagnosis and treatment.
By Francie Diep Posted 06.06.2014 at 4:00 pm
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In this case, 14-year-old Joshua Osborn fell seriously ill in the summer of 2013. Fluid collected in his brain and he had serious seizures. Yet all of the tests doctors gave him didn’t found any traces of fungi, bacteria or viruses, the doctors reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. So the doctors asked Osborn’s parents’ permission to try an experimental DNA test.
The test looked for bits of genetic material of illness-causing microbes in samples taken from Osborn’s blood and spinal fluid. This contrasts to the medical genetic testing most people are familiar with, in which scientists search for genetic problems in a person’s own DNA. In Osborn’s case, doctors were looking for bits of DNA from foreign critters. The international team that developed the test published a paper about it this week.
Two days after scientists received Osborn’s samples, they had a diagnosis: leptospira, a type of bacteria that only rarely causes the symptoms Osborn was suffering. The boy’s doctors decided to treat him with penicillin. He recovered gradually over the next seven days, his doctors reported.
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Now we are getting somewhere!
Hate to think of what it cost, but WOW! What results!!!
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