A one-year-old girl who had a stroke in the womb that caused several life-threatening health conditions is experiencing small victories by talking, scooting and clapping.
Naomi Kretschmer suffers from epilepsy, cerebral palsy and is partially paralyzed on the right side of her body due to a brain hemorrhage that caused permanent damage to the parts of the brain that control language and reasoning.
At 36 weeks pregnant, her mother Melanie, 28, had not felt Naomi kick in more than a day and went to a nearby hospital in Wisconsin where an ultrasound revealed the baby was in distress.
Within an hour the now-mother-of-two was under general anesthesia for an emergency c-section to deliver the baby who was seizing and needed to be resuscitated.
Nineteen months later, despite her conditions, Naomi is defying doctors expectations by reaching ‘inchstones’, as her mother put it to Daily Mail Online, such as speaking, scooting down stairs and even crawling on occasion.
Fetal strokes occur in one in every 2,800 births, and babies who survive have a 60 percent risk of permanent brain damage.
Strokes either before birth or within days after birth are the most common causes of paralysis and cerebral palsy in children.
In May 2016, at four days old doctors confirmed Naomi had a stroke in the left side of her brain in utero, causing paralysis on the right side of her body.
Melanie and her husband Joe, 38, a National Guard recruiter and veteran, were left wondering if their daughter would ever walk, talk or live an average life.
‘I asked all of those questions but nobody was able to give those answers,’ Melanie, who formerly worked in pediatric medical support but now cares for Naomi full-time, said.
Melanie was having a normal pregnancy with Naomi except that she rarely felt the baby kick.
‘I only had a very active little boy to compare her to so I was concerned,’ Melanie said of her eight-year-old son Dominic.
Doctors assured the parents it was normal and suggested tracking the kicks by doing regimes to induce movement.
For two weeks Melanie would drink orange juice to raise the baby’s blood sugar and get her active before laying down to feel for a kick – which usually came within 20 minutes.
However, one night she and Joe could not feel a kick for hours.
‘It was a mother’s instinct and I couldn’t shake the feeling something wasn’t right,’ she said.
Right before midnight Melanie went to Marshfield Medical Center where nurses hooked her up to monitors and conducted a fetal stress test.
Naomi was born in an emergency c-section after her mother could no longer feel her moving in the womb
Naomi was moving but she wasn’t ‘liking’ it, doctors told her mother. The baby was in distress but it was unclear why.
‘They just told me she needed to be born and born urgently,’ Melanie said.
She was placed under general anesthesia and delivered their baby girl.
When the new mother woke up in her hospital room, she had no idea that her baby had seizures for eight minutes after birth and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit fighting for her life.
‘It was about four or five hours later when doctors came in and told me that she had not been breathing and they had to resuscitate her,’ she recalled.
The couple said the news was ‘mind-blowing’.
They recall being fearful after the diagnosis because they thought their new baby was so fragile and they had never dealt with the cocktail of medications they would have to give.
Doctors are still unclear about how Naomi will develop but neurologists said she will likely never outgrow seizures.
At two months old Naomi was having seizures three to four times a day. Now at 19 months old she still experiences several seizures a month.
She began occupational therapy at two months followed by physical and speech therapies.
Naomi wears leg braces to stabilize her due to her cerebral palsy that affects her muscle movement and coordination.
She says several words including ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ which her parents call ‘inchstones’ instead of milestones.
‘She is sitting up by herself, scoots all around the house and goes down the stairs and recently started clapping,’ Melanie said.
Melanie added that her daughter brings her right hand to meet her left when clapping – a big victory that shows she is gaining movement in her right side.
‘She just has to work harder and think harder to move,’ she said.
The diagnosis has been ‘a life changer’ for the family, Melanie explained.
Along with taking care of her daughter full-time, she has started a non-profit organization to raise money for families with children who have disabilities.
She said the insurance the family has covers all of Naomi’s medical costs, but knows that other families are not as lucky.
That inspired her to start Naomi’s Need for Peds last year which has hosted 5k runs, silent auctions, dinners and raffles to provide assistive medical devices for families whose insurance doesn’t cover them.
The family does not know what the future holds as far as Naomi’s development and to that Melanie said: ‘We’re learning to live life day by day.’
Nigeria: Zamfara claims 3,000 lives lost to Gunmen
The Zamfara State government has claimed that it has lost 3,000 lives, with the state government spending some N17bn in the past seven years on fighting against banditry in the state.
The Secretary to the Government of Zamfara, Prof Abdullahi Shinkafi, made the disclosure on Sunday in Gusau at a town hall meeting, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association to find a lasting solution to the worsening insecurity in the state.According to Shinkafi, “the banditry has resulted in the death of over 3,000 people, destruction of over 2,000 homes, burning of over 500 cars and kidnapping of over 500 people for ransom.
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He recalled that the crisis which started as a minor clash between herders and farmers had been taken over by armed bandits, who had carried out about 40 attacks.
He attributed the banditry to the shortage of manpower in the state, stressing the need for more indigenes to show interest in joining the security services to protect the state.
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Usual triggers of Schizophrenia
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person prone to developing the condition.
Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode. However, it’s not known why some people develop symptoms while others don’t.
Things that increase the chances of schizophrenia developing include:Genetics
Schizophrenia tends to run in families, but no single gene is proved to be responsible. It’s more likely that different combinations of genes make people more vulnerable to the condition. However, having these genes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop schizophrenia.
Evidence that the disorder is partly inherited comes from studies of twins. Identical twins share the same genes. If one twin develops schizophrenia, the other twin has a one in two chance of developing it, too. This is true even if they’re raised separately unlike in the case of unidentical twins.
While this is higher than in the general population, where the chance is about 1 in 100, it suggests genes aren’t the only factor influencing the development of schizophrenia.
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Studies of people with schizophrenia have shown there are subtle differences in the structure of their brains. These changes aren’t seen in everyone with schizophrenia and can occur in people who don’t have a mental illness. But they suggest schizophrenia may partly be a disorder of the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry messages between brain cells. There is a connection between neurotransmitters and schizophrenia because drugs that alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are known to relieve some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Research suggests schizophrenia may be caused by a change in the level of two neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin. Some studies indicate an imbalance between the two may be the basis of the problem. Others have found a change in the body’s sensitivity to the neurotransmitters is part of the cause of schizophrenia.
Pregnancy and birth complications
Research has shown people who develop schizophrenia are more likely to have experienced complications before and during their birth, such as: low birth weight, premature labor, lack of oxygen (asphyxia) during birth
Triggers are things that can cause schizophrenia to develop in people who are at risk. The main psychological triggers of schizophrenia are stressful life events, such as: bereavement, losing your job or home, divorce, end of a relationship, physical, sexual or emotional abuse
These kinds of experiences, although stressful, don’t cause schizophrenia. However, they can trigger its development in someone already vulnerable to it.
Drugs don’t directly cause schizophrenia, but studies have shown drug misuse increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or a similar illness. Certain drugs, particularly cannabis , cocaine, LSD or amphetamines, may trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in people who are susceptible.
Three major studies have shown teenagers under 15 who use cannabis regularly, especially “skunk” and other more potent forms of the drug, are up to four times more likely to develop schizophrenia by the age of 26.