Thursday, April 10, 2008

Medical Marvel: Fetus In Fetu

My friend sent me an interesting story about a man in India who was found (at the age of 36!) to have his twin living inside of him:
At first glance, it may look as if Bhagat had given birth. Actually, Mehta had removed the mutated body of Bhagat's twin brother from his stomach. Bhagat, they discovered, had one of the world's most bizarre medical conditions -- fetus in fetu. It is an extremely rare abnormality that occurs when a fetus gets trapped inside its twin. The trapped fetus can survive as a parasite even past birth by forming an umbilical cordlike structure that leaches its twin's blood supply until it grows so large that it starts to harm the host, at which point doctors usually intervene.
A fetus in fetu is quite rare. In fact, when I first read the article, I thought the punchline was going to be that he had the world's largest teratoma or something. As often as humans are called 'parasites' metaphorically, I guess this is a literal case of a human being as parasite. One other point: why does stuff like this seem to always happen in India?

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