Well, Fall is officially here. Today I appropriately noticed some green plants that were in the midst of transitioning into their fall colors. I was very shocked, however, because instead of turning a nice hue of yellow, orange, or red, the plant was changing from green to HOT PINK. I wish I could get the picture uploading on this blog to cooperate with me because I would love to show you a picture of this neon fall plant.
Today I also saw, while walking through the woods with Tony (who is here visiting), a deer. So much for living in a big urban city. Not only was I able to go for a walk in a wooded area, but I came across a male deer, only 10 meters away from me!
Now for a lesson on the condition spina bifida:
Spina bifida (S.B.) means split spine. There are two types of S.B.: occulta and cystica. S.B. Occulta is the condition when a thoracic vertebra of the spinal column did not completely fuse together during bone ossification (i.e. bone development). This condition means that there is a gap in a vertebra, but that the spinal cord and nerves have not leaked out of the spinal cord. People with S.B. Occulta have no symptoms and can go their whole lives without knowing about this deformity. The only physical sign of someone having S.B. Occulta is the appearance of thick and coarse hair on his or her lower back. A doctor treating a patient with the presence of this thick hair would simply have to pay more attention when interacting with the patient's back (e.g. during the application of acupuncture needles or during therapeutic massage treatments).
S.B. Cystica is, however, a much more serious condition. A thoracic vertebra also did not fuse together, leaving a gap and exposing the spinal canal. However in this case, the content of the spinal canal (such as meninges, cerebral spinal fluid, and/or spinal nerves) has leaked out and has leaked into a cyst (or bubble) on the outside of the lower back. This condition is only found in new born babies. Some ultrasounds detect the presence of the cyst prior to pregnancy, but in other cases the cyst is not recognized until the baby is born. Surgery must take place immediately as the cyst is extremely fragile and could burst. The lives of children born with S.B. Cystica are often short lived. The length and quality of the life is unknown because it depends on how much and what kind of spinal canal material leaked into the cyst.
Unfortunately, the cause of spina bifida is still under investigation.
(Sorry for the serious topic, but much of what I am learning is not all peachy :( )