Recently, Ochsner Medical Center’s fetal surgery team of 18 physicians and nurses, operated on a 23-week-old fetus that was still in utero and was diagnosed with Myelomeningocele (MMC), one of the most serious forms of spina bifida that affects approximately one in every 1,000 babies born in the United States every year. It occurs when the spinal cord is exposed through an opening in the spine, leaving nerves exposed and vulnerable to injury from amniotic fluid. It can lead to a buildup of spinal fluid in the brain, which can cause neurological disabilities, problems with movement of the lower limbs, sensation impairment and bladder and bowel issues for the rest of the child’s life. This is a procedure that fewer than 10 hospitals in the U.S. are able to perform. Clifton Moore, M.D., a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Ochsner, said, “When the fetus is just 12 to 14 weeks, we can detect the MMC malformation. As the pregnancy continues, we can see the nerve damage occurring. That’s why fetal surgery is one of the most exciting developments in the treatment of spina bifida, with unparalleled results for the baby.”
PurpleStride New Orleans takes place on May 19 at New Orleans City Park. This family-friendly event is a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) timed run or walk with children’s activities, snacks, live music and other entertainment. Proceeds from it benefit Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer, which is the fourth leading cause of cancer death that also has the lowest survival rate of any major cancer. To register or donate to the cause, visit PurpleStride.org.
Mother’s Day is May 12, and mothers of young children this month are invited to East Jefferson General Hospital for “Wiggle and Giggle Jazzercize” classes, taking place on May 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25 and 30. During these classes, toddlers are encouraged to play with balls, toss beanbags and do other exercises that help with coordination and body awareness in an interactive social environment for optimum health. Classes are $10 each and must be paid in advance. For more information and for other classes, check ejgh.org.