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Showing posts from July, 2010

One Brain at a Time - Chapter 4

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A chorus of hope: Will a doctor's mission take hold here and in Africa?BY TONY BARTELMEThe Post and Courier Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Here's where ideas come from: Somewhere inside your brain, a signal shoots through a neuron at 200 mph toward a sac of molecules. Bam! When the signal hits that sac, it pushes the molecules out of the neuron, like a gust punching through an unlatched door. These molecules are on a mission now and fasten quickly to a nearby neuron, which sends the signal toward other neurons, over and over, until you think of a good place to get pizza or remember a funny joke or daydream as a choir sings softly in Swahili deep in the African bush. Provided by Brennan Wesley MUSC Dilan Ellegala (left) a neurosurgeon from MUSC, assists Emmanuel Nuwas, a Tanzanian doctor, during rounds at Haydom Lutheran Hospital in April 2010. It's late April 2010, end of the rainy season in Tanzania, and the choir sounds like velvet inside Haydom Lutheran Hospital's circular chap…

One Brain at a Time - Chapter 3

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Hope amid the acacias: A neurosurgeon findslove in Africa and a new job in CharlestonBY TONY BARTELMEThe Post and Courier Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Dilan Ellegala returns to the tiny bush town of Haydom in the summer of 2007, Tanzania's dry season, when the sun scorches the fields of maize and sunflowers, and the air fills with clouds of fine red dust. Ellegala greets the staff of Haydom Lutheran Hospital like old friends, including the medical technician, Emmanuel Mayegga, the man he trained to do brain surgery during his first visit the year before. provided Dilan Ellegala, an American neurosurgeon, married Carin Hoek, a Dutch pediatrician, on an airstrip in the Tanzanian bush in 2008. Thousands of villagers showed up for the ceremony. Ellegala beams as he hears Mayegga describe his recent brain surgeries. He sees that Mayegga is especially excited about one case, a man brought to the hospital after being beaten on the head with a stick. The patient was unconscious, paralyzed, about…

One Brain at a Time - Chapter 2

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Are medical missions doing more harm than good, or is it better to teach?BY TONY BARTELMEThe Post and Courier Monday, July 26, 2010



The flight lands in Oregon, 9,500 miles from Tanzania. Dilan Ellegala fills his lungs. No smell of wood smoke here. He just spent the past six months volunteering in a small hospital deep in the sun-baked African bush. Now, in the summer of 2006, it's back to work in the lush green city of Portland, to a new job as director of neurotrauma at Oregon Health and Science University. A challenge? That's a sure bet to fire the neurons of a brain surgeon, and Ellegala is eager to start this plum job. He'll disarm those deadly aneurysms, treat those emergency head wounds and share his skills with medical students at a top research university. He's in his mid-30s, on the star track, riding an elevator toward higher positions, higher pay, grants, recognition. Tony Bartelme Staff Dr. Dilan Ellegala, a neurosurgeon now at MUSC, assists Tanzanian doctor…