Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fetus in fetu

Today I was preparing for my postgraduate presentation in July. All the materials were ready but I just need pictures. yes of course I draw my own pictures, you know, to prevent plagiarism..and that is precisely why I bought this lovely, lovely, Toshiba M200 tablet PC as my drawing is now having Window Seven as its Os..terrific, I’ll tell you.

But hey, I am not going to gloat over an old laptop. I was finding it hard to draw “survival.” any idea how? so as usual, we, PhD students will google. there are little drawings on the web that depict my ideal interpretation of survival, to capture the essence of my scientific presentation, except one.
Mr fetus in fetu
What is this? you might ask.That is my friend, what I call a fetus in extremely rare medical condition which can literally be described as having an unknown twin brother or sister existing in ones body for years and years. This trapped twin lived by leeching from the other twin’s major blood vessel. Emphasis on the word “lived” there which means that it was "alive" until either the host dies or when it gets removed from the host body. According to the paper that I found, a 27-year-old man was complaining of dysphagia (difficulty to swallow) which was progressive in nature, the surgeons believed that this boy might be suffering from a retroperitoneal tumour, decided to open him up (pardon me for the expression). what appeared to be an encapsulated “tumour” actually contained this structure inside it.

This is the exact description of fetus in fetu in the paper (journal, not newspaper ok =^.^=):

Gross examination of the sac showed a thin walled membrane filled with sebaceous material and hair. Contained within that sac was a structure with fetal-like features, 14 cm long, weighing 754 g covered with thick wrinkled skin and appendages. The fetal-like structure had a cranium with an eye socket, mandible and four molar teeth. There were superior limb buds consisting of a right upper limb and a left digit with pointed nails.

The lower part contained two lower limb buds with foot-like projections with five buds and long pointed nails. Histologic sections of the cyst wall showed fibrocollagenous tissue with chronic inflammation. Histologic sections of the specimen showed evidence of a cranium, retinal tissue within an eye socket, mandible with 4 teeth, an axial skeleton with cervical vertebrae and long bones and respiratory buds. Specimen radiography confirmed the presence of a rudimentary spinal column with vertebra and a bony pelvis. Each lower limb bud had a primitive femur, tibia, foot and phalanges. Genetic studies included chromosome analysis performed on fibroblasts cultured from the fetus and on leukocytes from the patient. Both subjects had a normal male karyotype (46, XY). There was no evidence of mosaicism or any structural or numerical abnormalities. Of interest was the absence of inversions in chromosome 12p frequently seen in patients with teratoma.
copied and pasted from :
Case report

Dysphagia caused by a fetus-in-fetu in a 27-year-old man

Malek G. Massad, MDa, Lawrence Kong, MDa, Enrico Benedetti, MDa, Daniel Resnick, MDa, Luna Ghosh, MDb, Alexander S. Geha, MDa, Herand Abcarian, MDa
a Department of Surgery, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
b Department of Pathology, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
It’s a miracle that something like this could happen. This is the very exact definition of survival (but I cannot possibly put that picture up in my presentation, can I?) =^.^=. In fact, If someone is destined to live, he will live even in the most unlikely, most impossible condition as such. I know I am odd because I am deeply intrigued by this condition. to me, God is showing to us that He can create the most beautiful most magnificent things in this world but he can also do this.
a pessimistic atheist Professor once ask, “is God good, boy?” “ yes,” the student answered. “then why are there still be sufferings, war and death?” The student had no answer… If only I was there to help the boy answer, “ Look professor, God is good, therefore there is always war against discrimination, hatred and revenge, God is good professor and therefore there will always be worldly sufferings in return of an eternal happiness, and God is good,professor,  therefore there will always be death so that someone else can be born. because without war, how do you appreciate peace? without suffering how would we interpret joy and without death how would we live?”
Major deviation from my original fetus in fetu topic by related in so many ways nonetheless..
My last question for you to ponder my beautiful, smart, loving friends, do you think this fetus in fetu, giving the circumstances that ‘it” was alive, would it has any soul?


  1. Hi,

    I'm Jose from Spain. I just stumbled upon your blog while googling 'fetus in fetu' plus 'soul'. I'm preparing my dissertation about the morality of voluntary abortion and fiund this case of asymmetric twinning mentioned in a book.

    The author uses it to suggest (along with other cases of abnormal human development) that the position that the possession of a soul is necessary for a human organism to be alive is inconsistent with what we know about biology.

    Personally I don't think it has a soul. But I'm a European and an atheist so my opinion doesn't count much I supose ;).

  2. Hye Eze,

    tricky question huh? From the holy Quran, we Muslims are taught that souls are breathed into fetuses at the age of 12 weeks following fertilization, (therefore abortion is allowed during this time). However, there has been no discussion about fetus in fetu that can live as long as the host..

    But when we look at the state of development, fetus in fetu's development seems to be halted at a very early age, therefore, I humbly think that perhaps "it" doesn't have any soul, and probably only live like any other tumour/growth / neoplasm. =^.^=

  3. Hi,

    That's a very interesting suggestion.

    I'm sorry to be an ignorant about Islam (I was raised as a Catholic, though I'm now an atheist) but, would you be so kind as to explaining to me the argument for establishing that ensoulment occurs 12 weeks past fertilization? Was it established very long ago? Or perhaps in light of some new empirical evidence? Also, do Muslims belief that possession of a soul is necessary for an organism (animal or otherwise) to be alive? Or is it that only we humans have a soul?

    Anyway I think this Muslim belief is a much more reasonable one than the Christian belief that ensoulment takes place somewhere along the process of conception. Also Christians belief that having a soul is necessary for an organism to be alive: plants have nutritive souls, animals have nutritive-sensitive souls and humans have nutritive-sensitive-rational souls which are immortal.

    Nice to chat with you,

    1. The higher animals have souls. Atheists who believe in God deny that animals have an afterlife so as to give themselves an excuse to torture,maim and kill animals, like cats,dogs, monkeys,apes.

  4. Hi Eze,

    After reading your comment, i did bit of research on the current Islamic opinion on ensoulment and abortion, fearing that I might give you either wrong or outdated information.and what do you know? the information I gave you before might indeed be outdated.

    As much as I'd love to explain it to you using my own words, I can't because I am not an expert in Islamic medicine. therefore, all I can do is to direct you to the expert, please follow the link below:

    it is a bit lengthy, but i hope you'll have some patience to read the entire article because you might find it very helpful.

    it was nice chatting with you too,


  5. hi, im marcus from malaysia :D thanks for the postings, it helped. now im worried for my presentation. god bless :D
    guess what i fed your fishes XD

  6. Hi Marcus!
    So nice of you to drop a comment!
    Good luck for that presentation. Surely you'll do well! God bless you too and the fishies said thank you [wink*] =^.^=



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...