One Health Wonder(s)

By August 26, 2017Uncategorized

After a brief hiatus, the bi-monthly blog is back. And what better way to return than with news of a few One-Health Breakthroughs? From Gorilla births to Spina Bifida, One Health is changing the world for the better.

First off, what is One Health? Yes, it should be the name for One Direction’s charity initiative, I agree. Harry Styles kneeling in front of a hospital he helped build? Count me in! Anyway, One Health is pretty much what it sounds like – a combination of various fields of medicine that includes dentists, scientists, environmentalists, physicians and veterinarians working together to further our understanding of medicine and the world around us. Check out their website here for more on the initiative.

From a personal standpoint, I find One Health exciting and extremely important. First of all, there is a small – albeit vocal – sector of society that marginalizes veterinary professionals and their contribution to medicine. One Health reminds us that veterinarians play a vital role in world health, due largely to the fact that the animals of this earth are major influencers of the development of disease, antibiotic resistance, and every other pivotal health issue facing us today. One Health gives veterinarians the opportunity to share their research and vast knowledge with other medical professionals.

So lets get to the breakthroughs!

  • In the world of physicians helping veterinarians, an Ob-Gyn from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital helped deliver a Western Lowland Gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo in mid-June. Veterinarians at the zoo wanted to have an expert on hand in case of difficult birth, and since the reproductive anatomy of gorillas is so similar to humans, it only made sense to call in a human Ob-Gyn. Her name is Rebekah McCurdy, and with a pair of bent forceps she was able to re-align the baby and pull it from it’s mother.
  • In the world of veterinarians and physicians helping dogs which in turn helps physicians help babies, doctors at UC Davis successfully treated a pair of English Bulldog puppies with Spina Bifida. The doctors developed a unique method of treatment which utilized both stem cell and surgical intervention. Spina Bifida is a condition in which the improper closing of a neural tube of the spine leads to damage to the spinal cord. The effects of this damage range from moderate to severe and can cause paralysis in those with more extreme cases. The study at UC Davis resulted in radical improvement in the dogs’ control over their hind limbs. If the study continues to go well, the FDA may eventually approve trials in humans, which could lead to the eradication of Spina Bifida. Read here for more details.

Call me cheesy, but all this talk of cross-disciplinary camaraderie makes me feel like brie covered in mold! Or in other words – all warm and fuzzy inside!

To play us out, we have One Direction singing their version of Bob Marley’s One Love, titled “One Health”.



written by Lauren Gamiel, veterinary assistant



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