Brain swelling biggest cause of malaria deaths among children

Brain swelling biggest cause of malaria deaths among children

Brain swelling biggest cause of malaria deaths among children

Malaria remains one of the biggest causes of death in the world. In the year 2013, the disease caused the death of as many as 584,000 people across the world. Though a majority of such deaths happened in Africa, other major hotspot of this killer disease included India, Pakistan and South America besides almost every other country on the planet.

Children have been the biggest victim of malaria. Be it Africa or South Asia, malaria’s number one opponents are none other than small children and it affects them the most. A study conducted by the researchers associated with the Michigan State University has come out with a discovery about cerebral malaria. Researchers claim that this is a very dangerous form of malaria and claim that in this case brain swelling causes children to die.
Researchers believe that the latest finding is going to help them come out with right solution for the problem. Malaria is actually caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted by a bite from infected Anopheles mosquitoes.

Though malaria itself is deadly, the cerebral malaria is the deadliest than any other similar disease. It is also the commonest causes of death from the disease. It occurs when blood cells containing the Plasmodium parasite block blood vessels to the brain. This can cause brain inflammation and brain damage.

One of the lead authors of the study Dr. Terrie Taylor of the Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine says, “We discovered that some children with cerebral malaria develop massively swollen brains and those are the children who die…Because we know now that the brain swelling is what causes death, we can work to find new treatments. The next step is to identify what’s causing the swelling and then develop treatments targeting those causes. It’s also possible that using ventilators to keep the children breathing until the swelling subsides might save lives, but ventilators are few and far between in Africa at the moment.”

While further detailing the findings she goes on to add, “We found that survivor’s brains were either never swollen or decreased in size after two to three days. This was a triumphant moment. I wanted to say to the parasite, ‘Ha! You never thought we’d get an MRI, did you???Unfortunately when that happens it presses on the respiratory center in the brain stem. It’s like flipping a light switch: Boom! They just stop breathing. And the child dies in 15 or 20 minutes without ventilation.”

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