Monday May 19 2014

Does blood group prove if a child is mine or not?

Before DNA analysis was available, blood types were the most common factor considered in human paternity testing.

Dear Doctor: I am blood group A and my wife is blood group A, but surprisingly our child is blood group O. I have been hesitant to spend on the child because I don’t think he is mine. Is there a chance that the boy is actually mine?
Worried J
Dear J: In olden times, blood groups were used to rule out rather than determine parenthood. Even then, they were not very helpful which is why DNA testing which is more definite has come in handy.
Blood groups are mainly classified by the ABO blood system and the Rhesus type system.
The four blood groups are A, B, AB and O. Each blood group is either Rh-positive or Rh-negative. The Rhesus factor is important when a woman becomes pregnant, and the ABO for blood transfusion.
A person’s blood group is determined by a pair of genes, one inherited from their mother and another from the father. The blood group is determined by chemical substances called antigens located on the surfaces of red blood cells.

For a person of blood group A, the pair of genes are AA or AO the latter meaning that if both parents were OA the resultant off spring could be OO, AO or AA.

So the boy being blood group O does not rule him out as being yours, a DNA test will give you proof, if there are other reasons to suspect he is not yours. For your information, a child may carry the same blood group as yours and yet they are not yours.

Dear Doctor: Can you believe that my one-year-old has not yet developed teeth yet my sister’s child who is seven months old has two teeth already? What is the problem with my son?
Misaki Opolot

Dear Opolot: Teething patterns vary greatly from child to child so that some children by one year may have no teeth to show. That said, any child who has not had any teeth by 15 to 18 months, should be taken to a doctor (paediatrician) to rule out any medical related issues.

Teeth generally appear one at a time with the bottom two middle teeth usually appearing first (usually at six months),then the top two middle ones (eight months) and by age three, the child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth, which start coming out at around six years.

Many people worry that late teething could be a sign of a bigger issue, but it is often nothing to worry about since every baby is different and the time when the first teeth appear depends on genetics.

That said, when teeth develop may be affected by various factors, including nutrition, or a medical condition. Oral injuries, anaemia, low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), vitamin and mineral deficiencies and genetic conditions many times contribute to delayed teething.

Dear Doctor: I have been trying to reduce weight as advised by doctors. I exercise and take lots of fruits and vegetables. What is funny is that my tummy is even bigger and keeps rumbling whenever I eat. Am I eating badly and not doing what trims the tummy?
Benon Arinaitwe

Dear Arinaitwe: Exercise to manage obesity does not have to target the tummy. Even a 30-minute brisk walk, at least thrice a week can deal with overall obesity and a pot belly especially when combined with eating less quantities of food which have minimal fat.

Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables in the diet useful in fighting obesity, constipation and cancers, are known to be associated with production of lots of gas, whose movement in the intestines makes lots of noise (borborygmi).

A big tummy is caused by fecal material, food, fat, fluid and flatus (gas). In your case, the pot belly was caused by fat but now it is the gas.

Better the gas than fat because gas, which is not related to diseases, only causes embarrassment because it requires passing it out many times but the fat puts one at risk of bad health.

Fortunately with time, the gas will recede, especially after identifying and minimising the type of fruit or vegetable most responsible for the gas.

Dear Doctor: I don’t know what has befallen my child or is it what the Baganda call enkaka? He has been vomiting yellow stuff since yesterday. What is it?
Laker E.C

Vomiting is the forceful bringing up of stomach contents to the outside through the mouth but sometimes some vomit may exit through the nose. There are many disease conditions including those that cause fevers or peptic ulcer that can cause vomiting.

Usually the lower end of the stomach is closed so the vomit is of the stomach contents and if one has just eaten, the food too will be vomited.

If one has not eaten, watery or frothy stuff will come out. If one has a bleeding stomach ulcer, scary looking blood will be vomited. The lower end of the stomach has a “tap” called the pyloric valve which if it is open, bile from the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) may come up to the stomach and be brought out as yellow vomit.

Yellow vomit is more common in older people and does not always indicate “enkaka” the local word for hepatitis. Your child requires investigating the cause of vomiting whose proper treatment will then take away the vomiting.