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Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby's Life Saved After Holes in Brain Plugged With 'Super Glue' small text medium text large text


The life of a 6-month-old twin girl has been saved after doctors stopped a brain defect using medical-grade "Super Glue."

The Chicago baby, Joely Finkelstein, was born with a potentially deadly brain abnormality in which the blood vessels in her head weren't properly formed, according to CBS 2 News in New York City.

The backup of fluids led to a very dangerous condition known as hydrocephalus, or water on the brain -- which caused her head to grow unusually large and numerous veins to pop out in her scalp when she was only a few months old. Her twin brother Jared didn't share her birth defect.

An MRI revealed that Joely's disorder was a "vein of Galen malformation," which produces a dark circle in the middle of the brain that cuts off circulation between various arteries and veins. The syndrome causes those veins to enlarge and prevents fluid in the brain from being able to drain normally.

Doctors told her parents the infant had to come to the emergency room right away. The Finkelsteins found an expert in the condition, Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, during their research online and flew to New York City, where he performed a procedure to fix Joely's brain.

He inserted a micro-catheter through an artery in the baby's groin that pushed all the way up to her head to correct the vein malformation. He then plugged up the vessels feeding the abnormal vein with small quantities of a type of medical grade Super Glue.

"We know that before the availability of these techniques to treat these children, it was nearly a fatal disease," Berenstein told CBS. "There was practically a 95 percent chance of dying before the end of the first year of life and maybe less than 5 percent to have a normal child by the end of 10 years."

Joely underwent two treatments to remedy the situation, and the malformation was already shrinking in size after the first one, according to X-ray results.

"Her eyes looked brighter, her coloring looked better," said her mother, Darby Finkelstein. "She just looked like a different baby. It was really quite amazing."

The malfunctioning vein has been almost completely closed off since the baby's second procedure. Doctors predict that slowly, her head will return to its normal size and the water on her brain will continue to drain away.

"She really, personality-wise, turned into this happy, charming little baby who will ham it up for anybody that looks at her," her mother said. "And that was not her pre-surgery personality."