Saturday, September 24, 2016

Possible new lead on phocomelia

While researching preterm birth today, I came across a lead on phocomelia, the limb malformation most known in connection with thalidomide. Phocomelia is still seen sometimes, as reported in this worldwide epidemiologic survey:

A surgeon in India reported two non-thalidomide cases of phocomelia this past winter, and India is just the place I would have expected phocomelia cases to turn up in fairly regularly (I'll explain why in a later post). As I'm merely a researcher with no funding, I emailed the surgeon about the possible cause for phocomelia that I'd come across. He emailed back saying that unfortunately, he 1) is grossly overworked (I believe the numbers were roughly 2 surgeons for 100,000 people, which is at best quarter staffing per and 2) has no funding to do research or pay to have it published.

I did also email my phocomelia hypothesis to the corresponding author on the epidemiologic survey I mentioned above. Maybe she'll have the inclination and resources to pursue it. I'll write an explanation of the new lead next week here on the blog.

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