MS Clues Found in Blood

Serum microRNAs may serve as biomarkers for multiple sclerosis

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that influence basic cellular processes and have been proposed as biomarkers for the diagnosis, progression and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

In a new study conducted at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School researchers have found that serum microRNAs are linked to MRI findings in the brain and spinal cord in patients with MS.

These findings suggest that microRNAs could serve as promising biomarkers for monitoring the progression of MS and could help to identify distinct underlying disease processes, such as inflammation and tissue destruction.

The research was published on Jan. 23 in JAMA Neurology.

In a large study, researchers examined the connection between serum microRNAs and MRI measures taken to evaluate the severity of patients’ MS, which included looking at lesions and atrophy, a measure of degeneration of the cells in the central nervous system. The researchers found that the expression of certain microRNAs was linked to the MRI measures.

These associations, the study suggests, could be protective or harmful to patients (depending upon the function of the microRNA). They also found that different mechanisms were linked to different locations of MS changes, such as in the brain or spinal cord. Additionally, the study suggested certain sets of microRNAs were linked to lesions, while others were linked to atrophy, which is known to have more devastating effects.

“These findings tell us the disease is heterogeneous. There’s a complex set of mechanisms at play, and it may vary from patient to patient,” said senior co-author Rohit Bakshi, the HMS Jack, Sadie and David Breakstone Professor of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s. “Another implication of this research is that it could eventually lead to us having a blood test to identify the subtype of MS in a patient, to help guide therapeutic decisions and prognosis,” said Bakshi, who is also HMS professor of radiology at Brigham and Women’s.

“MicroRNAs could serve as biomarkers of the underlying MS disease processes, once validated and standardized for clinical settings. In addition, these markers have the potential to provide novel treatment targets,” said Roopali Gandhi, senior co-author and HMS assistant professor of neurology at Brigham and Women’s.

Fusion power at home, or, how small science will defeat big science

Fusion research is known for its huge projects — and its huge lack of tangible success. Big machines like the Princeton tokamak and the Livermore laser have indeed managed to fuse a few nuclei, but have required too much energy to get too little in return. A Brooklyn web developer named Mark Suppes recently created fusion in in his own home, using a much simpler device called a Farnsworth fusor. Accessing declassified experiments, and using open-source software, open-source hardware and crowdsourced funding, he has turned the traditional approach to scientific research on its head — and he makes it look easy.

In his early teenage years, Philo Farnsworth presented a concept for the all-electronic “image dissector,” and soon developed it into the first functioning television set. He successfully defended his rights to the design against larger corporations like RCA, which tried to claim it in a patent, and in the process became a legend and inspiration for private inventors and DIYers everywhere. Farnsworth’s skill at controlling electrons with electric fields later led him to develop a small nuclear fusion device. The device used inertial electrostatic confinement, as opposed to magnetic confinement which is used to fuse charged particles in the larger and more complex machines.

Suppes first heard about the Farnesworth fusor from Robert Bussard’s Google Tech Talk. With DARPA’s permission, Brussard described his work on Polywell reactors. The Polywell is a refinement of the Farnesworth fusor, but has the potential for significant net energy production. Suppes knew little of physics, but decided that with a little help from the open source community, he could make a fusor for himself. His blog
and Github repository show step-by-step exactly how he did it. In the video below, you can see a talk that Suppes gave at Wired 2012.

Can you really create fusion at home?


The biggest challenge to homebrew fusion is creating a spot where the conditions are just right. Typically a vacuum chamber that can tolerate some heat is needed. In university and industrial research labs a vacuum system is built using standard erector set pieces called “conflat flange” mounts. Prior to Ebay, the best way to get value out of an old vacuum system was to recycle it for the nickel and chrome in the steel. Today however, passing these systems on to someone who can use them is just a matter of a few clicks.

Another thing Suppes had going for him was the capability to design and 3D print heat resistant parts in the complex geometry needed for the Polywell device. The Polywell is basically a set of electromagnetic coils positioned in a precise geometry that enables charged particles to be confined. Ceramic is needed because other heat resistant materials, like metals, would perturb the field and let particles escape.

The most important a tool for Suppes was the willingness of skilled individuals to help him at every turn. As the 38th person to build a working fusor, there was a lot of technical know-how floating around. Suppes was able to collect that information into one place and package it in a way anyone can understand. His approach of publish first, then review, has been catching on as the new way to do science. Not every person cares about the research that their tax dollars fund, but those who do care have demanded access to it — and are getting it.


A cautionary note is perhaps in order. David Hahn, also known as the radioactive boy scout, was a child prodigy who built a subcritical fission reactor in his backyard using tiny amounts of radioactive material from many smoke detectors. He eventually became obsessed with his hobby and landed himself in the hospital for treatment of possible radiation injuries, and then in jail allegedly for larceny. The risks from radiation are not the same with fission as with fusion. High energy X-rays and neutrons are created in a fusor and need need to be respected accordingly.

The fire that Farnsworth lit years ago continues to burn bright. The untimely death of Brussard, just a year after his Google Talk and initial results with the Polywell device offered the torch, and Suppes and others have run with it. Big science concentrates all the money and knowledge on large projects that can’t fail, but it is slowly yielding to smallscience, where nimble, crowd-funded and -sourced projects can gracefully die if they don’t yield productive results. Not every scientist is compelled to fuse atoms, nor every layperson, but with enough people working on the problem and communicating their results and techniques openly, humankind will one day harness the power of the Sun (perhaps through a Sun-encompassing Dyson sphere, hm?)

German student creates electromagnetic harvester that gathers free electricity from thin air

A German student has built an electromagnetic harvester that recharges an AA battery by soaking up ambient, environmental radiation. These harvesters can gather free electricity from just about anything, including overhead power lines, coffee machines, refrigerators, or even the emissions from your WiFi router or smartphone.

This might sound a bit like hocus-pocus pseudoscience, but the underlying science is actually surprisingly sound. We are, after all, just talking about wireless power transfer — just like the smartphones that are starting to ship with wireless charging tech, and the accompanying charging pads.

Dennis Siegel, of the University of Arts Bremen, does away with the charging pad, but the underlying tech is fundamentally the same. We don’t have the exact details — either because he doesn’t know (he may have worked with an electrical engineer), or because he wants to patent the idea first — but his basic description of “coils and high frequency diodes” tallies with how wireless power transfer works. In essence, every electrical device gives off electromagnetic radiation — and if that radiation passes across a coil of wire, an electrical current is produced. Siegel says he has produced two versions of the harvester: One for very low frequencies, such as the 50/60Hz signals from mains power — and another for megahertz (radio, GSM) and gigahertz (Bluetooth/WiFi) radiation.

The efficiency of wireless charging, however, strongly depends on the range and orientation of the transmitter, and how well the coil is tuned to the transmitter’s frequency. In Siegel’s case, “depending on the strength of the electromagnetic field,” his electromagnetic harvester can recharge one AA battery per day. He doesn’t specify, but presumably one-AA-per-day is when he’s sitting next to a huge power substation. It makes you wonder how long it would take to charge an AA battery via your coffee machine, or by leeching from your friend’s mobile phone call.

Energy harvester, gathering power from a coffee machine's ambient electromagnetic radiationAs a concept, though, Siegel’s electromagnetic harvester is very interesting. On its own, a single harvester might not be all that interesting — but what if you stuck a bunch of them, magnetically, to various devices all around your house? Or, perhaps more importantly, why not use these harvesters to power tiny devices that don’t require a lot of energy? Sensors, hearing aids (cochlear implants), smart devices around your home — they could all be powered by harvesting small amounts of energy from the environment.

One question does remain, though: How much ambient, wasted electromagnetic radiation is actually available? There are urban legends about people who install coils of wire in their garage, and then suck up large amounts of power from nearby power substations or radio transmitters. Would the power/radio company notice? Would it degrade the service for other people? Is this a likely plot for Die Hard 6: A better day to die hard?

6 foods that can damage your metabolism the moment you eat them

While “a moment on the lips,” is well-known for meaning “forever on the hips,” did you know it can mean forever damaging your metabolism too?

It was previously thought that weight gain and weight loss were governed solely by the laws of thermodynamics (aka calories in vs. calories out.) Emerging research seems to point otherwise; not all calories are created equal. The same 100 calories that you take in guzzling a can of soda is a lot different inside the body than the 100 calories in your broccoli. Here are six foods that cost more than just their calorie load in ways of weight gain.


One of the main reasons soda gets a bad rap is because it’s sweetened with a little something known as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS, a sweetener found in many of America’s highly processed foods and soft drinks, is as damaging as it is cheap. It has been argued that Fructose consumed in the same quantities as other sugar has more damaging effects on the metabolism (making it an even more sinister commodity).  A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition further explained the link between HFCS and obesity. HFCS may lead to obesity because of its negative effects on the metabolism. In fact, consuming high fructose corn syrup can cause something called “metabolic syndrome,” which is basically a group of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Therefore, drinking a glass of soda can directly hurt your metabolism.


Fortunately most sources of trans fat are off the market, but they can still be found in stick margarine and baked goods. The trans fats in the margarine can wreak havoc on your metabolism because they can lead to insulin resistance (which is when the body can’t use insulin effectively). Insulin is a hormone used in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and insulin resistance results in slower metabolism and weight gain, especially around the abdomen, as it causes our bodies to store fat more easily

  • White Bread

White bread and other simple carbohydrates are easily broken down by the body because the fiber (which slows digestion) has been removed during processing. The body does not have to burn any extra calories to try to break down these easy-to-digest-foods, leaving your metabolism operating at a slower level. Foods that are high in fiber like whole wheat bread ramp up your metabolism due to the extra work required to try and break down the indigestible fiber.

Farmed Beef (vs. Grass-Fed)

Conventionally farmed beef can hurt our metabolisms. Conventionally farmed beef has more antibiotics than grass-fed beef. For years, we were unaware what deleterious effects the antibiotics would have on our health. One study published in Front Public Health explained the harm antibiotics have on the good bacteria in the gut of consumers. This change in bacteria in the gut is correlated with an increase in weight gain, as it changes and negatively affects the way we process food. Simply stated, consuming antibiotics from meat can make us gain weight. Our recommendation is to choose grass-fed meat as much as possible.

Conventional (non-organic) apples

Organic fruits are more expensive for more reasons than one. One study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology showed the toxic effects of pesticides from fruits and vegetables actually caused metabolic changes (by increasing the rate at which fat cells were made) in mice, causing them to gain weight. This means the mice were eating “healthy” fruits and vegetables in the same quantities as the organic control group and were STILL gaining weight. This illustrates the metabolic changes in the mice directly from the pesticides. To limit exposure to pesticides, when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen,” (the fruits and vegetables which are most likely to soak up pesticides and bad bacteria) buy organic. To further limit pesticide exposure be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables well after purchase.

Canola/Vegetable oil

Although previously touted as a health food, canola oil is actually quite the opposite. That’s because it’s a major source of omega-6 fatty acids, which may lead to a slower metabolism.  Whereby the American diet used to be balanced in both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a push towards higher processing has left our country filled with vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats (high sources of Omega-6), which are pro-inflammatory, and the consumption of these are correlated with obesity. A review published in the journal Nutrients explained that “A high omega-6 fatty acid intake and a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio are associated with weight gain in both animal and human studies, whereas a high omega-3 fatty acid intake decreases the risk for weight gain.” The review further explains that omega-6 fatty acids promote insulin resistance (where our body turns too much of our carbohydrates into fat) and leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone which tells us when we are full; if we are resistant, we never feel full). To limit omega-6s in your diet, switch canola oil out for olive oil.

10 surprising scientific facts about twins

Beyoncé is pregnant with twins! The singer and actress, 35, announced the news on Instagram today, posting a photo of her baby bump and writing that she and husband Jay Z “have been blessed two times over.”

Pregnancies with multiple babies aren’t as rare as they once were, but they’re still an uncommon event. So in celebration of the couple’s happy news, here are 10 fascinating things you may not know about twins—identical, fraternal, and otherwise.

Nov. 4, 2016: In this file photo, Beyonce performs at a Get Out the Vote concert.

Twin births are on the rise

There were 135,336 twin births in the United States in 2014, the latest year for which data is available. That means about 3.4% of all babies born that year were twins—a record high, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The twin birth rate has been climbing steadily since 1980, and experts say that the prevalence of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies has likely played a role.

Older moms are naturally more likely to have twins

Even without IVF or other fertility treatments, mothers are naturally more likely to have twins as they get older, says Christine Greves, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando.

“It may have to do with evolution,” says Dr. Greves. “Women at an older age won’t be able to have babies for much longer, so it makes sense that they’d have more at one time.”

Twins live longer than singletons—and so do their moms

In a 2016 study from the University of Washington, researchers found that identical twins tend to live longer than fraternal twins, and all twins tend to live longer than the general population. “There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you,” said study author and postdoctoral researcher David Sharrow, PhD, in a press release. “They may provide material or emotional support that leads to better longevity outcomes.”

There’s good news for moms of twins, as well: In 2011, University of Utah researchers discovered that women who give birth to twins tend to live longer than other mothers. (It’s not because having twins makes you healthier, say the researchers, but that healthier women are more likely to have twins.)

There are more than two types of twins

Everyone knows the difference between identical and fraternal twins, but those aren’t the only possibilities. Some siblings are mirror-image twins, with birthmarks on opposite sides of their bodies, for example.

Twins can also be conceived—and born—up to 24 days apart, when a woman ovulates more than one egg in a cycle but the eggs are released at different times. Last year People reported on an Australian woman who experienced this extremely rare phenomenon, known as superfetation or interval birth.

Twins can have different skin colors—and even different fathers

Twin girls born to Whitney Meyer and Thomas Dean in 2016 were far from identical: One has light skin like her Caucasian mother, and one has a darker complexion like her African American father. “We don’t know how often it happens because not all cases come to our attention,” Nancy L. Segal, PhD, director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University, told People.

Babies born at the same time to the same mom can even have different dads. One of these rare cases, which occurs when a woman has sex with two different men during her ovulation window, occurred last year in Vietnam.

There’s a gene for fraternal twins

It’s often assumed that twins run in families, but so far research only shows a link between genetics and fraternal twins. A 2016 Dutch study identified two gene variants that increased a woman’s odds of having twins by 18 percent and 9 percent; if women had both variants, it increased their odds by 29 percent.

Twins are more likely to be left-handed

About one in five twins, both fraternal and identical, are left-handed, according to a 1996 Belgian study. That’s about double the rate in the general population.

Tall women are more likely to have twins

A 2006 study found that, on average, mothers of multiples tended to be about one and a quarter inches taller than mothers who had only single births. The study authors speculated that taller women tend to have higher levels of insulin-like growth factor—a protein released by the liver that’s been linked to height as well as twin births.

Twins should be delivered at 37 weeks

To reduce the risk of stillbirth and complications, experts say that the best time to deliver twins is at 37 weeks gestation—or 36 weeks, if the babies share a placenta.

For a lot of twin pregnancies, early delivery happens naturally. “A lot of twins don’t make it to 39 or 40 weeks full-term, because the mother’s uterus is stretched significantly more at an earlier point in the pregnancy,” says Dr. Greves. This also puts twin pregnancies at an increased rate of pre-term labor (before 37 weeks).

C-sections aren’t the only delivery option

C-sections are more common with twin deliveries than with single babies, but vaginal births can be safe, as well, says Dr. Greves. “If both heads are down and the babies are cooperating and the placenta’s in the right position, we love to try for vaginal delivery,” she says.

After the first baby is delivered, Dr. Greves says the second usually comes along quickly—although that’s not always the case. “There have been times when I’ve waited a few hours for the second baby,” she says, “but usually it’s less than an hour.”

The truth about testosterone therapy and when to consider treatment

As a hormone specialist, I see male patients all the time who want to be checked for low testosterone. It’s a smart move on their part.

Testosterone affects more than sex drive and erections. It plays a key role in energy, happiness, memory, mood, muscle strength and self-confidence for men. Some men with low testosterone levels say they feel they’ve “lost their edge.” One man told me that he used to love fishing, and now he didn’t feel like it at all.

It’s important to seek a solution for low testosterone. One option, however, has been vilified by the media over the past decade, and I want to help set the record straight.

Last month, the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings released a review on testosterone therapy and cardiovascular risk, finally putting misconceptions about testosterone therapy to rest. A few poorly conducted, but well-publicized, studies suggested that testosterone therapy was unsafe and increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. But the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence shows that the exact opposite is true. Believe it or not, dozens of studies have shown that higher testosterone levels are associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, not the other way around.

Testosterone therapy has been correcting testosterone deficiency for more than 70 years. Deficiency was once blamed on certain cancers and disorders, but today we know that it’s common in many men and that there’s no known cause for it. Men naturally lose 1 to 2 percent or testosterone per year, and environmental stressors— such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals in everything from unfiltered water to plastic food containers— seem to be costing men their testosterone at alarmingly faster rates.

If you or the man you love has low testosterone and won’t try therapy, here are a few reasons to reconsider:

It can help lower your blood sugar and cholesterol.

Testosterone helps my patients lower their blood sugar and cholesterol, which surely reduces their risk of heart disease. New data have shown that testosterone therapy reduces blood sugar and hemoglobin a1c levels. In addition to these results, testosterone therapy can lead to men slimming down and getting leaner, as this study found, and it can improve their mood. This 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that men with low testosterone who underwent testosterone therapy over a 60-day period saw an increase in energy, “good feelings” and friendliness, as well as a decrease in anger, nervousness and irritability.

Studies against it were flawed.

A few earlier (and flawed) studies unfortunately painted testosterone therapy with a broad and toxic brush.. One study reversed raw data, another published symptoms that had never been tracked prior to the study, and a third literally sought out and reported studies with patients who experienced adverse cardiovascular events.

Don’t mistake media hype for a sound medical decision.

This happened with estrogen therapy, too. In 2002, a study was released that claimed taking estrogen hormone replacement therapy was an immense risk to women’s health. As a result, estrogen therapy was stigmatized in the media for years. Almost a decade later, it was reported in this study that rejecting estrogen hormones had caused the early deaths of nearly 50,000 women. Let that number sink in for a moment. The last thing any of us want is for men to experience the same thing.

This is not to say that testosterone therapy is the right choice for everyone, but it’s worth considering— particularly in conjunction with a physician who specializes in hormones and hormone therapy. These experts will know what signs to look for to determine if you should begin prescription testosterone therapy, and they will know what side effects to look for while monitoring you.

I am grateful to the authors of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings review for addressing such an important topic that has a huge impact on men’s health. All doctors who take care of men should read the review and understand the important role that testosterone therapy can serve in a man’s life.


FDA issues new warning about testosterone drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning men about testosterone replacement products increasing their risk for heart attacks and strokes. The agency is urging doctors and the makers of these products to properly inform patients about the possibility of developing these life-threatening conditions.

The FDA became aware that testosterone replacement drugs are not always being used to treat low testosterone caused by a certain medical condition, but often to treat symptoms of low testosterone as a result of aging. The agency says it has not determined the benefits and safety for this type of use, therefore, they are cautioning doctors to prescribe testosterone only to men with low testosterone caused by a medical condition which is confirmed by laboratory tests — not just to men looking to relieve low testosterone symptoms related to aging.

A November 2013 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found a 30 percent increased risk of death, heart attack or ischemic stroke among men who were taking testosterone replacement drugs, compared to those who were not taking them. Another study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that men over 65 who were taking testosterone replacement drugs had double the rate of heart attacks, compared to men who were not taking them.

Testosterone replacement therapies generate about $2 billion in the U.S. each year – a major increase within the past decade. The FDA estimates that 1.5 million men were taking a testosterone replacement product in 2013, which is nearly double the number of men who were taking it in 2010. Apparently, only about 25 percent of these men had not been tested for or diagnosed with low testosterone, meaning they were taking the drug based on symptoms, rather than a diagnosed medical condition.

The FDA says that the risks associated with testosterone replacement drugs are not fully understood and that with the market growing so quickly, it’s important to determine exactly what role they play. The risks we are currently aware of include an increased risk for blood clots and stroke, sleep apnea, acne, breast enlargement, and possibly an increased risk for prostate cancer.

Millions of men suffer from low testosterone as they age – a common and natural part of the aging process. Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, reduced energy and depression, and loss of muscle mass. For an adult male, the normal testosterone level should be between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL. Testosterone replacement therapy in the form of gels, injections, patches or pills can help increase the testosterone level until it is within normal range. Testosterone replacement therapy can increase libido and ability to maintain an erection, increase bone strength, improve osteoporosis, improve mood and energy, and reduce irritability and anger.

The bottom line is: Testosterone replacement therapy is not recommended as a way to treat or relieve symptoms of low testosterone related to aging. It should only be used to treat a diagnosed medical condition that has been confirmed by a blood test or other lab test. Testosterone products should also only be taken under the supervision of a doctor who has prescribed it.

Newest device to help combat obesity epidemic

The obesity rate among adults in the United States is now at 37 percent, a 12 percent increase from 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But now, technology firm Enteromedics is offering up a pace maker-like device called vBloc as one option to help combat the national epidemic. It’s a palm-sized neuromodulator that alters signals, blocking communication between the stomach and brain which suppresses the patient’s appetite.

“vBloc is a device that we implant in a patient using a minimally invasive approach that allows us to be able to adjust the way that the Vagus nerve communicates from the stomach to the brain,” Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, medical director of Roper St. Francis Bariatric Surgery Division in Charleston, told Fox News.

During the procedure, the neuromodulator is placed directly under the skin, and two wires called leads are connected to the Vagus nerves on the stomach. Patients can return home the same day of surgery, and the device is activated two-to-three weeks later. It is controlled with a computer program that wirelessly communicates with the device, and can stay implanted in for the duration of a patient’s life. vBloc is activated for approximately 14 hours per day and uses a rechargeable battery that can be charged by the patient. Doctors believe the battery can last up to 10 years.

Cathy Newell, of South Carolina, struggled with weight loss for years and decided she wanted to give vBloc a try.

“I was afraid I was going to be headed to diabetes if I didn’t do something” Newell said. “Then having a parent that died at age 60, and I’m 58, was kind of an eye opener. It’s time to get myself together and get healthy.”

She discovered vBloc after attending a seminar and called Roper St. Francis in Charleston for more information. That’s where she met Mitchell.

“When you do bypass surgery it’s like a plumber going in and have to rework and re-plumbed everything,” Newell said. “He said vBloc surgery is like hanging a picture on a wall. That caught my attention.”

Newell received the implantin December 2016 and said she is happy with the results.

“I can tell a difference,” she said.“I’m eating less, my appetite is suppressed somewhat, my cravings decreased. This weight loss will be slow and I knew that from the get-go. Slower is better anyway.”

vBlock was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2015 is available in 11 states. So far, 74 patients across the country have undergone the procedure, which targets those who have tried dieting for more than five years. No results on the effectiveness have been published yet.

The surgery and device costs $18,500 and is not covered by most insurance companies. The expense is the main concern expressed by Dr. Nina Crowley, the coordinator for the South Carolina Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program.

“Here at MUSC we definitely have a higher percentage of patients who have Medicare or Medicaid insurance” Crowley told Fox News. “So, I don’t know many patients that can afford procedures that would be that expensive. If 30 percent of our population is struggling with obesity, what percentage of those patients can actually afford a procedure that’s close to a car?”

A spokesperson for Enteromedics stated they have future plans to help patients considering the procedure.

“Obtaining payer coverage of vBloc will allow vBloc to be part of the standard of care for physicians who are fighting obesity,” the spokesperson said.

Flight attendant receives kidney from stranger on Facebook

Kim Menders reached out to Oscar Serrano after reading his story on Facebook.

Kim Menders reached out to Oscar Serrano after reading his story on Facebook.

An Atlanta-based flight attendant is looking forward to returning to work this April after the power of social media and kindness of strangers landed him a new kidney. Oscar David Serrano, who was suffering from stage 5 kidney disease, told Fox 5 Atlanta that he received a call from a mother of five in Minneapolis who wanted to help him.

“Kimberly Menders called me on September 4,” Serrano, 53, told the news outlet. “The surgery was done December 28 and I am so thankful to live free from dialysis machines. We need more Kims in this world.”

Serrano’s desperate search for a donor spanned over two years as he posted fliers on cars, restaurants, utility poles and social media, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. As his health worsened, the Delta flight attendant was forced to spend 12 hours per day hooked up to a dialysis machine.

He now wants to help others facing similar health battles and raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.

“While I was waiting for my kidney, I had a lady tell me that she really wanted to donate her kidney but she couldn’t because her employer wouldn’t give her the time off that she needed for recovery,” Serrano told Fox 5 Atlanta.  “This should not be considered an elective. These are life-saving procedures and business should do what they can to help organ donors help sick people.”

He plans to meet with Georgia lawmakers to expand laws that apply to organ donors, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. 

Zealandia: Study confirms Earth has hidden continent.

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