Plastic surgeon who did Snooki and Angelina's breast augmentations insists they are NOT the same

Jersey Shore celebrity Angelina Pivarnick considers Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi more than just her co-star. 

In a preview for Thursday night's episode of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, Angelina declared that she and Snooki are 'boob sisters'.

'I have not shown you my boobs yet since we got our t**s done at the same place,' Angelina says over dinner.

'I just want to see how he did yours and then I want to compare them at the same time.'

Speaking to Daily Mail Online from the operating theater, celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr John Paul Tutela - who performed breast augmentations on both women - said while the procedures are the same, the results were very different, since their reasons for seeing him and the implants they chose vastly differed.

In a preview for Thursday night's episode of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, Angelina Pivarnick (left) declared that she and Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi (right) are 'boob sisters' because they had their breast augmentations done by the same doctor

While out at dinner, Angelina (pictured) told Snooki: 'I just want to see how [the surgeon] did yours and then I want to compare them at the same time'

Breast augmentations are the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the US every year.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 300,378 breast augmentations were performed in 2017, a three percent increase from 290,467 in 2016.

Figures also showed that in 2017, the average cost of breast augmentation surgery was $3,718.

But Dr Tutela told Daily Mail Online that a breast augmentation and lift - as both received costs around $15,000. 

Dr Tutela, who is based in New Jersey, said that both women came to see him for the same procedure, but for different reasons.

'Nicole came to see me expressing her breasts had sagged after having her two children,' he said.

'Angelina complained about deflation of her breasts after repeated episodes of weight gain and weight loss. She also desired fuller cleavage without needing to use a push up bra.'

'I wasn't happy with my body and I knew I had to do something to make myself feel better,' she told the gossip site.

'I was looking at myself in the mirror with agony, and I know a lot of women out there feel the same way.'  

Celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr John Paul Tutela - who performed breast augmentations on both women said Snooki (left in 2010 and right in 2018) went to see him because she felt her breasts had sagged after having her two children. She chose what is called a moderate profile implant

Meanwhile, Angelina (left in 2010 and right in 2018) saw Dr Tutela because she felt her breasts had deflated after repeated episodes of weight gain and weight loss'. She chose a high-profile implant which she said  provides rounder cleavage

Dr Tutela (pictured) added that many people tend to lump breast augmentations and lifts into one category despite the fact that procedures can be quite different

Despite undergoing the same surgery, the women chose different implant 'profiles', Dr Tutela explained. 

The profile - low, moderate, moderate plus, or high - refers to how much the implant will project from the base of the chest as well as the dimension and width.

As the name might suggest, moderate implants tend to provide the most natural result because they provides more projection that low implants but less than high implants. 

Women with a wider frame are generally recommended to go for a low profile implant to get a more natural look while women with narrower frames are recommended to get the high profile implant because they take up less space.

'Nicole chose a moderate profile implant which has a more natural upper pole,' Dr Tutela said, referring to how full the breast is above the nipple.  

'Angelina chose a high profile implant which provides rounder cleavage. However, the overall implant sizes were very similar.' 

Dr Tutela says he recommends that his patients not exercise for two weeks and refrain from heavy lifting for four weeks.

He added that many people tend to lump breast augmentations and lifts into one category despite the fact that procedures can be quite different.

'I think that people's perception that breast augmentations are all the same because they have a specific look in mind. However this is simply not the case,' he said.

'Like I always say you shouldn't be able to see good plastic surgery, but bad plastic surgery you can see from across the room.' 

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September 14, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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    1 January 16, 2019
  • 
	Catholics told to keep their hands to themselves amid rampant flu outbreak in the US

    Catholics told to keep their hands to themselves amid rampant flu outbreak in the US

    s during Mass to stop the rampant spread of flu that has struck seven million Americans already this winter. </p><p>The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has advised Catholics displaying symptoms of the flu to watch Sunday Mass on their TV. </p><p>Only the consecrated bread will be given during the Holy Communion - without the chalice of wine that is shared among churchgoers.  </p><p>Catholics have been told to keep their hands to themselves to stop the rampant spread of flu that has struck seven million Americans so far</p><p>This year, 90 percent of flu cases tested by the CDC are H1N1, the same strain that caused the swine flu epidemic in 2009. Rates are high in 19 states and New York City</p><p>'It is not a sin to miss Mass on Sundays if you are ill,' the archdiocese said in a statement. </p><p>They also said that during the Sign of Peace, instead of shaking hands or hugging, as is practiced in some parishes, it would be best to simply nod your head and avoid bodily contact. </p><p>Soap or anti-bacterial gel should be used before and after administering Holy Communion. </p><p>'When praying the Our Father, please do not hold hands,' it said. 'Simply extend your hands toward Heaven or fold your hands.</p><p>'Please note the reason for these directives is to limit the spread of influenza and to save lives.</p><p>'These directives will be revoked when the situation improves.'</p><p>The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine.</p><p>While there are many different flu viruses, flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. </p><p>Three-component vaccines contain an H3N2, an H1N1 and a B virus. Four component vaccines have an additional B virus component.</p><p>Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalisations - around 70,000-80,000 have been hospitalised so far.</p><p>Flu vaccination also has been shown to significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.</p><p>People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.</p><p>But it is recommended anyone over the age of six months old should be vaccinated.</p><p>If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.</p><p>If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.</p><p>Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. </p><p>The statement comes just a few days after The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) warned that flu activity had 'sharply increased' and is now widespread in New Mexico.</p><p>The flu has already taken the lives of four over 50s as of December. During last year's flu season, New Mexico had more than 280 influenza and pneumonia-related deaths. </p><p>Diocese of Allentown in Pennsylvania also advised similar measures, in light of being listed as a state with widespread flu activity by the CDC.</p><p>Exchange of the sign of peace and the drinking wine from the chalice during Holy Communion would be stopped in its 84 parishes.</p><p>'This suspension will begin with the Vigil and Sunday Masses the weekend of January 12-13, and will be in effect until the incidence of influenza subsides in our region,' that statement said. </p><p>Up to 7.3million Americans have been sickened with the flu so far this season, according to the latest CDC estimates.</p><p>'As flu infections increase across the state, it is important to get vaccinated if you haven't already received the flu vaccine this season', said the NMDOH Secretary Lynn Gallagher. </p><p>'The flu vaccine is the best way for you to protect yourself and your families, especially young children and elderly family members.' </p><p>The NMDOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.</p><p>The measures to avoid touching were also forced upon Catholics last year in Maine during the killer flu outbreak. </p><p>The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which covers the entire state of Maine, warned priests to be 'cautious not to touch the tongue or the hand of the communicant'. </p><p>Figures confirm the strain circulating widely this year (H1N1), while serious, is nowhere near as threatening as H3N2 last year.  </p><p>The number of states reporting widespread activity increased to 30 from 24 states, the CDC said on January 11, with 15 states and New York City continue to experience 'high flu activity'. </p><p>The latest estimates show at least 13 children have died. The CDC does not update data on adult deaths. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 16, 2019
  • 
	Victims of the tainted blood scandal will be allowed to give evidence anonymously

    Victims of the tainted blood scandal will be allowed to give evidence anonymously

    en allowed to keep their identity hidden in a public inquiry of this kind.</p><p>Around 7,500 people were affected by the NHS blunder which saw them get blood transplants from people infected with HIV and hepatitis C.</p><p>At least 2,500 of these people are believed to have died already – the crisis happened at a time when HIV could not be easily treated.</p><p>At least 7,500 people were infected with HIV or hepatitis C after being given infected blood or plasma transfusions which had been donated by prostitutes, prisoners and drug users in the 1970s and 1980s (stock image)</p><p>A public inquiry will be launched in April into why and how people became infected, how it affected their and their families' lives, and whether there was a cover-up.</p><p>Thousands more people may have become infected with HIV or hepatitis by the blood transfusions – some of which came from prisoners in the US – without knowing.</p><p>Patients involved in the scandal will be able to provide evidence in the inquiry without revealing who they are.</p><p>This will help them to avoid making it public they have deadly, contagious viruses in what is expected to be a high-profile investigation. </p><p>There is still stigma surrounding HIV and other diseases which can be spread through sex, meaning people could be reluctant to publicly speak out.</p><p>Victims will instead give their evidence and tell their stories through three trained 'intermediaries'.  </p><p>Chair of the inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, a former high court judge, said: 'The work of these intermediaries will be especially appropriate for anyone who does not wish to take the time to give a full detailed written account or who may find that process too upsetting for all sorts of reasons. </p><p>'It would be a pity if what they had to say remained unheard and I wanted the Inquiry’s processes to enable them to be heard, despite those difficulties.' </p><p>Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the inquiry in 2017 when she said what had happened was 'appalling'.</p><p>Mrs May said at the time: '‘Thousands of patients expected the world-class care our NHS is famous for, but they were failed.</p><p>'While this Government has invested record amounts to support the victims, they have been denied those answers for too long and I want to put that right.’</p><p>The contaminated blood scandal happened when the NHS gave seriously ill patients blood or plasma transfusions which were infected with HIV.</p><p>Blood clotting agent Factor VIII began to be used as a treatment for patients including those with haemophilia, a condition which stops the blood clotting.</p><p>Because Britain was struggling to keep up with demand, it imported supplies of Factor VIII from the US, where people were paid to donate it.</p><p>It later turned out that among the donors were prisoners, prostitutes and drug users who were infected with HIV – which was unknown at the time.</p><p>In the 1980s the health service began heating samples to kill bacteria and viruses but thousands of people had already been infected.</p><p>Many have since died or lived for decades with debilitating illness.</p><p>Sir Brian Langstaff has warned predictions that up to 25,000 people were affected by the scandal could be proved right during his two-year-inquiry.</p><p>The contaminated blood scandal is regarded as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.</p><p>More than 7,500 patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis after being given contaminated blood by the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.</p><p>Victims include patients with the blood clotting disorder haemophilia, mothers who needed blood transfusions following childbirth or patients who required them after major surgery.</p><p>A shortage of a blood clotting treatment, Factor VIII, meant that much of the blood had been imported from prison inmates in the US who were paid for their donations.</p><p>Many were drug addicts, alcoholics or prostitutes suffering from serious illnesses, and their blood had not been treated to destroy any viruses before being used in Britain.</p><p>By the mid-1980s, the blood was being heat-treated to kill viruses, but patients had already been infected. Wholesale screening of blood products only began in 1991.</p><p>The Daily Mail campaigned for nearly 30 years for justice for the victims before Theresa May announced in July 2017 that there would be a full inquiry into what she called an ‘appalling tragedy’.</p><p>It aims to determine whether members of the Government covered up the scandal as campaigners say senior Department of Health officials knew the blood was contaminated even while it was still being given to patients.</p><p>The judge chairing the public inquiry, which starts next April and is expected to last two years, warned the scandal could be far more wide-reaching.</p><p>Sir Brian Langstaff said estimates that up to 25,000 patients were affected ‘may prove right’ - with thousands potentially still unaware they are infected.</p><p>Up to 2,800 patients have since died and many others remain very seriously ill.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 16, 2019
  • 
	Ebola death toll tops 400 in Democratic Republic of Congo

    Ebola death toll tops 400 in Democratic Republic of Congo

    ere have been 658 cases of the killer virus since the epidemic began last August.</p><p>The figures come amid fears the outbreak in the DRC could get even worse because of political instability following a presidential election.</p><p>Aid workers on the ground have warned the outbreak of the virus - one of the most lethal known to science - is expected to rage on until the middle of the year.</p><p>Health authorities in the African nation yesterday revealed there have been 658 cases of the killer virus since the epidemic began last August</p><p>A bulletin posted yesterday by the Health Ministry in the DRC stated there have been 609 confirmed Ebola cases so far. Another 49 are under investigation.</p><p>The outbreak has so far struck hardest in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri - which border South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. It has yet to spread further.</p><p>Officials revealed the number of cases of the lethal virus in Beni, a city home to around 230,000 people, is falling.</p><p>The ministry has not reported any new cases this week in the city, situated in a region caught up in violence blamed on Islamist rebels from Uganda.</p><p>Armed rebels have attacked, kidnapped and killed medical staff trying to combat the outbreak and equipment has been destroyed, making it difficult to help victims.</p><p>Tracking suspected contacts of Ebola victims is also challenging in areas controlled by dangerous rebels, officials have said repeatedly.</p><p>A team of medical workers are seen putting on their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) ahead of entering an Ebola Treatment Centre run by The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) on August 11, 2018 in Beni, northeastern DRC</p><p>At least 361 people are believed to have died in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – an unusual number of children were dying of the virus last autumn, when experts realised they were contracting it when visiting medical centres</p><p>A presidential election in December caused protests across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (pictured, protestors in Kinshasa, the country's capital). In the north-east province of North Kivu, where the Ebola outbreak is raging, people have fled to Uganda to escape violence </p><p>Unrest and violence has made the current Ebola outbreak difficult to control because people have attacked and kidnapped health workers and others have fled their homes, making it hard to track the spread of the virus (pictured, police officers guard a polling station in the capital of Kinshasa, which has so far remained untouched by Ebola)</p><p>The breakout is the second largest in history, after the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic that lasted for two years, infecting 28,000 and killing more than 11,300.</p><p>As well as fears Ebola will spread into other regions of DRC, the neighbouring countries of Uganda and South Sudan are on high alert.</p><p>Health workers in those countries have been given vaccines against the virus to try and prevent it spreading via people who travel across the borders.</p><p>Ebola can be transmitted between humans through blood and other bodily fluids of people who have been infected, and by touching infected surfaces.</p><p>Tensions have been high in the DRC because of a presidential election which was supposed to mark end of a chaotic 18 years of ruling by Joseph Kabila.</p><p>The government cancelled the election in some regions because of insecurity.</p><p>In response, protestors attacked an Ebola treatment centre which contained patients thought to have been infected.</p><p>Politician Felix Tshisekedi was unexpectedly declared the election winner,  leading to claims of fraud and calls for a recount from his main rival.</p><p>Monitoring groups noted widespread irregularities including faulty voting machines and poorly run polling stations, according to reports. </p><p>The new outbreak is the DRC’s ninth since the discovery of Ebola in the country in 1976.</p><p>Health experts credit an awareness of the disease among the population and local medical staff's experience treating for past successes containing its spread.</p><p>DRC’s vast, remote geography also gives it an advantage, as outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate.</p><p>Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 across the world after it decimated West Africa and spread rapidly over the space of two years.</p><p>That epidemic was officially declared over back in January 2016, when Liberia was announced to be Ebola-free by the WHO.</p><p>The country, rocked by back-to-back civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit the hardest by the fever, with 40 per cent of the deaths having occurred there.</p><p>Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly of all those infected having been residents of the nation.</p><p>An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the outbreak began in Guinea - which neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.</p><p>A team of international researchers were able to trace the epidemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou - about 400 miles (650km) from the capital, Conakry.</p><p>Emile Ouamouno, known more commonly as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.</p><p>Figures show nearly 29,000 people were infected from Ebola - meaning the virus killed around 40 per cent of those it struck.</p><p>Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US - but on a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.</p><p>Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the south-eastern regions of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola. </p><p>Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak dwarfed all other ones recorded in history, figures show.</p><p>Scientists believe Ebola is most often passed to humans by fruit bats, but antelope, porcupines, gorillas and chimpanzees could also be to blame.</p><p>It can be transmitted between humans through blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of people - and surfaces - that have been infected.</p><p>The WHO warns that there is 'no proven treatment' for Ebola - but dozens of drugs and jabs are being tested in case of a similarly devastating outbreak.</p><p>Hope exists though, after an experimental vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet journal. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 16, 2019
  • 
	Drinking green tea for its health benefits? Stop using tap water and use bottled water only

    Drinking green tea for its health benefits? Stop using tap water and use bottled water only

    eap its health benefits, scientists have said.</p><p>The result is a tea with almost double the amount of the antioxidants, according to a study by Cornell University.</p><p>However, if you're drinking green tea for taste, tap water will yield the best cup, ensuring it's not too bitter.</p><p>EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is a natural antioxidants found in green tea, shown to be beneficial for the brain and heart in studies.</p><p>Celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Lady Gaga are said have said to use the Asian brew for weight loss, energy and stress control. </p><p>It's best to brew green tea in bottled water instead of tap water to reap the benefits of ECGC - the antioxidant - scientists at Cornell's Sensory Evaluation Center have said</p><p>Jennifer Aniston and Lady Gaga have previously said they are fans of green tea, using it for weight loss, stress and energy</p><p>To conduct the tests, 2.5g of green tea was weighed out into pre-warmed Gaiwan tea brewing vessel with 125ml of water at 80°C (176°F).</p><p>The green tea infusion was brewed for three minutes and then strained through a fine mesh strainer.</p><p>EGCG in the tea infusions was measured by the researchers, and around 100 tea drinkers were recruited to taste the tea.</p><p>After giving details on their normal tea drinking habits, the volunteer evaluated six cups of tea - three black, and three green.</p><p>They rated each tea sample on a scale of one to nine for how much they liked its taste and appearance.</p><p>They were also taught how to use a specific scale to measure the sweetness, bitterness, sourness and earthiness of the brews. </p><p>An anti-ageing drug may be on the horizon using the plant supplement quercetin - found in red wine, onions and green tea, research suggests.</p><p>Scientists have discovered a drug cocktail that clears senescent - or 'zombie' - cells from the body.</p><p>Senescent cells are alive but non-functioning and have been linked to everything from arthritis to Alzheimer's. </p><p>They are also thought to cause the deadly lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) by triggering inflammation. </p><p>Researchers gave 14 patients the cancer drug Sprycel (dasatinib) and quercetin, and they became significantly more mobile after just three weeks.</p><p>The findings, published The Lancet online journal EBioMedicine, raise hope that senolytic drugs may lead to a new way of targeting age-related disease. </p><p>Results showed levels of ECGC in the green teas were 'drastically reduced' in those brewed with boiled tap water. No effect was noticed in the black teas.</p><p>The researchers said this is because the levels of calcium, magnesium and iron are higher in tap water.</p><p>Professor Robin Dando, one of the authors of the study, said: 'Bottled water is able to extract the EGCG more efficiently.'</p><p>He added this is because calcium and magnesium have been filtered out of the 'purer' water, and iron concentration is also 'brought down a notch'. </p><p>Professor Dando added: 'With purer water, you get more health benefits out of the tea.' </p><p>Consumers liked green tea brewed using tap water more than using bottled water, because it produced a sweeter taste.</p><p>But there was hardly any difference in black tea brewed in either tap water or bottled water.  </p><p>The findings were published in the journal Nutrients.</p><p>'The average consumer for black tea isn't able to tell the difference,' said lead author Melanie Franks. </p><p>'Whether it was tap water or bottled water, the taste differences are too subtle.</p><p>'Since black tea has fewer catechins than green tea due to the oxidation process in manufacturing, the type of water used seems less important to the everyday tea drinker.'</p><p>Green tea, which originated in China and is made from Camellia sinensis leaves, is a well-researched area. </p><p>ECGC has been found to stave off or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease in a 2015 University of Missouri study, when combined with physical activity. </p><p>But other components found in green tea - caffeine, amino acid L-theanine and other catechins have shown possible health benefits in studies. </p><p>These include lower cholesterol, a lower risk of Parkinson's and even cancer. They have also been shown to boost metabolism.  </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 16, 2019
  • 
	Brother and sister both battle the one-in-eight MILLION 'Benjamin Button disease'

    Brother and sister both battle the one-in-eight MILLION 'Benjamin Button disease'

    jamin Button disease'.</p><p>Michiel, 20, and Amber, 12, Vandeweert, of Diepenbeek, Belgium, suffer from the genetic condition progeria, which causes them to age eight-to-ten times too fast. </p><p>With the disorder affecting just one in every four-to-eight million people worldwide, the siblings make up two of the 155 known cases.  </p><p>Most patients die at only 12 years old, with the siblings already experiencing problems with their bones, teeth and hair.</p><p>But the pair show no signs of slowing down with Michiel loving to race on his GoKart and Amber being a keen dancer. </p><p>They have even set the goal of being the longest living progeria sufferers ever, with the current record being 26 years old. </p><p>Siblings Michiel and Amber Vandeweert both battle the incredibly rare 'Benjamin Button disease'. The condition - known as progeria - causes sufferers to age too fast and affects just one in every four-to-eight million people worldwide. They are pictured last December 1</p><p>While they endure cruel stares and comments from bullies at school, the siblings support each other through the ordeal of having such a rare disorder. Michiel enjoys being the 'big brother', with Amber being able to turn to him if she ever has a question about their shared condition</p><p>Their parents Wim and Godelieve Vandeweert (pictured with their children on December 1) were keen to expand their family after Michiel was born and were told it was almost impossible they would have another child with progeria. Amber was diagnosed at just seven weeks old </p><p>Michiel - who stands at just 4ft 1inch - said: 'Progeria has affected our hair, bones and height – just like old people. They say the rate you can get progeria is one-in-eight million, so it's extremely rare.</p><p>'They also say the life expectancy of someone with progeria is 12 years old, but we are taking medicines from America and hopefully these should extend people's lives by two years.</p><p>'Saying that, I'm now 20. So you know, that time has thankfully passed for me.'  </p><p>Progeria, also known as Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, is an extremely rare, progressive genetic disorder that causes children to age rapidly, beginning in their first two years of life.</p><p>The name derives from the Greek word meaning 'prematurely old'.</p><p>Children with progeria generally appear normal at birth. During the first year, signs and symptoms, such as slow growth and hair loss, begin to appear.</p><p>Heart problems or strokes are the eventual cause of death in most children with progeria. </p><p>The average life expectancy for a child with progeria is about 12 years, but some with the disease die younger and some live 20 years or longer.</p><p>There's no cure for progeria, but ongoing research shows some promise for a treatment.</p><p>Michiel was diagnosed at eight months old after his parents Wim and Godelieve Vandeweert took him to a children's care centre where doctors noticed he seemed different. </p><p>Speaking after Michiel's diagnosis, Mr Vandeweert said: 'When he turned five years old, he was changing. </p><p>'Losing his hair, not getting teeth and not gaining any weight. It was a big shock for us.'</p><p>Keen to expand their family, the parents were then told it was almost impossible they would have another child with the condition. </p><p>'We always thought about having two children. But when Michiel was born, we questioned ourselves,' Mr Vandeweert said.</p><p>'You can't inherit it from your parents and so it's very unlikely to have two children with progeria. </p><p>'We knew it had happened before but with a twin from the same cell.'</p><p>When Amber was born, the parents asked doctors to run some tests just to be on the safe side. Seven weeks later, they found out she too had progeria.</p><p>'The first few days were very hard, but we had a great support system around us to help us through that time,' Mr Vandeweert said.</p><p>Michiel was diagnosed at eight months old after doctors noticed he seemed different. To be on the safe side, his parents asked doctors to test Amber for progeria shortly after she was born. Amber is pictured right with her brother as a newborn and left as a toddler  </p><p>The siblings enjoy bowling with friends and are pictured on a day out on December 1 last year</p><p>While enduring cruel stares and comments from bullies at school, the siblings are always there for each other.</p><p>'I would definitely say we're each other's best support. We both know what it's like, better than anyone,' Michiel said.</p><p>'If Amber ever has a question, she can always come to me. It's nice that I still get to be the big brother. Because if Amber didn't have progeria she would be a lot bigger than me already.'</p><p>Although they refuse to let their condition hold them back, the pair have not always found life easy.  </p><p>'Kids see that we're different,' Michiel said. 'They start to make fun of you. But I always stood my ground and never backed away.'</p><p>Amber - who is 3ft 7inches tall - added: 'Last year I had some difficulties in school – I said I wanted to be like a normal person and people bullied me because of that.</p><p>'Thankfully, that has been resolved now and school is going really well for me at the moment. They take good care of me.'</p><p>Michiel can drive and is pictured out and about in his native Belgium last December 2</p><p>Michiel is pictured left as a baby, shortly before he was diagnosed with progeria. Keen to live as a full a life as possible, the now 20-year-old used to be a DJ (seen right)</p><p>He also loves to drive his GoKart and is pictured on the tracks on December 2 last year </p><p>The siblings are also often stared at when out in public, but try to take it in their stride.</p><p>'When they stare, that's okay when they just look and go forward,' Michiel said.</p><p>'But sometimes they just keep looking, that's when it's annoying. There's a big difference between the two.'</p><p>As well as having each other, the siblings also have a large circle of supportive friends.  </p><p>'They look through the disease,' Michiel said. 'They don't see the progeria part of us. They see us and our personalities.'  </p><p>One of their close friends - Ruben Gysemberg - has been with the siblings every step of the way. </p><p>'In the beginning, it was quite weird,' he said. 'But then I got to know both Michiel and Amber – we have always treated them like everyone else.</p><p>'They both handle everything so well. They have learnt to live with it.</p><p>'We now have a really good understanding of their condition too. Because as friends, we talk about it a lot. </p><p>'When they are not feeling well, we notice this. So yeah it's really nice how close we have become.'  </p><p>Although Michiel and Amber have both experienced the ups and downs that come with having such a rare condition, they both live life to the full.</p><p>The pair regularly go bowling with friends. Michiel can also drive and used to be a DJ in his spare time.</p><p> 'I think we can both say we are very proud,' Amber said. 'You just have to be the person you want to be and embrace yourself no matter what.'</p><p>Michiel, who hopes to reach 30, added: 'We just try to live for the moment but we definitely both have more things we want to strive for.</p><p>'I am very proud to have made it to 20 years old. I think the oldest child ever with progeria was 26 – so now, I'm going to try and beat that!'</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 16, 2019
  • 
	Project coordinator had a cardiac arrest aged just SIX

    Project coordinator had a cardiac arrest aged just SIX

    d was only diagnosed with the rare condition behind it after she was bitten by a tick more than two decades later.    </p><p>Despite numerous tests, doctors were baffled by Ms Wall's mysterious condition, with her being forced to live with heart palpitations for the next 24 years.  </p><p>But in 2015, after a tick bite infected her with Lyme disease, Ms Wall met with a cardiologist who diagnosed her with Brugada syndrome. </p><p>Knowing she could go into cardiac arrest at any time, Ms Wall - who is now healthy - underwent multiple surgeries and was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to regulate her heart beat. </p><p>Alexandra Wall (left) - who went into cardiac arrest at six years old - was only diagnosed with  Brugada syndrome decades later after she got Lyme disease. She is pictured right in hospital last year having surgery to destroy the tissue that was causing her heart to beat abnormally</p><p>Brugada syndrome disrupts the electrical impulses that keep the heart beating, which can lead to a very fast, life-threatening heart rate, according to the British Heart Foundation.</p><p>Its UK prevalence is unclear, however, it affects five in every 10,000 people in the US, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. </p><p>Ms Wall - a project coordinator - said: 'That's why it took so long to diagnose me. </p><p>'Doctors did all they could at the time but there was no way anybody would have known about Brugada. I started showing symptoms when I had palpitations in the late 80s, way before it was first reported.' </p><p>Without a diagnosis, and suffering regular palpitations, Ms Wall wondered what the problem could be.   </p><p>'There were points where I did start to think, "Is this actually nothing? Is it just me, and the way my heart is?", she said.  </p><p>'I could never quite shake the feeling that something was wrong, so though the diagnosis was difficult, in a way, I was relieved to finally be believed.'</p><p>Pictured left and right in hospital last April, Ms Wall had the surgery due to the abnormal electrical impulses in her heart meaning she could go into cardiac arrest at any moment</p><p>Although Ms Wall had a cardiac arrest aged six, she regularly experienced heart palpitations and dizziness, which she dismissed as 'her normal'. At the time, it would feel as if her heart was 'beating out of her chest'. She is pictured as a baby in hospital after a fainting episode</p><p>Ms Wall, who grew up in Sweden, would often experience bouts of dizziness as a child, along with an erratic heart rate.  </p><p>'The palpitations had no particular trigger,' she said. 'They even happened when I was sitting still. It was like my heart was bouncing out of my chest.' </p><p>Brugada syndrome is a rare, inherited heart condition that disrupts the electrical impulses that keep the heart beating.</p><p>It affects five in every 10,000 people in the US, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Its UK prevalence is unknown.</p><p>Brugada syndrome occurs due to an error in the flow of sodium and potassium ions in and out of heart cells. </p><p>This can lead to very fast, life-threatening heart rhythms.</p><p>These may be made worse by fever, dehydration or drinking lots of alcohol. </p><p>Some sufferers experience no symptoms at all, while others are unaware they have Brugada syndrome until they go into cardiac arrest.</p><p>If at risk of a cardiac arrest, patients may need to have a implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted to regulate their heart beat.</p><p>Medication like beta blockers may help prevent or reduce abnormal heart rhythms.</p><p>Ms Wall's parents took her for tests but all came back normal. But disaster struck on a family day out at the beach.  </p><p>'I was swimming when I began feeling like I wasn't in control of my body,' she said.</p><p>'A lady saw and pulled me out of the water, asking if I was okay. I just about made it to the towel where my family were sitting, and remember saying to my dad, "I'm so tired", which was a real red flag as I was always an energetic child.</p><p>Just moments later, Ms Wall went into cardiac arrest. Luckily, a passerby was a nurse, who performed first aid while an ambulance was called.  </p><p>'From what I have been told, my heart actually stopped, but thankfully everybody kept going and trying to revive me,' Ms Wall said. 'I can't imagine what it was like for my family to have seen that.</p><p>'I ended up having to be taken to hospital via a helicopter, which landed on the beach. Thankfully, medics brought me round on the way and kept asking me questions to keep me conscious.'</p><p>Ms Wall stayed in hospital for three weeks undergoing investigations, however, medics were unable to give her family a diagnosis and eventually discharged her.  </p><p>Although she continued to suffer palpitations, which she accepted as 'my normal', Ms Wall was relatively healthy until she became increasingly breathless in her early thirties.  </p><p>'When I was 22, I went back to a cardiologist in Sweden, where I was living at the time, for a Holter test, which meant having a monitor recording my heart for 24hours,' she said. 'But, yet again, it came back fine.</p><p>'The trouble with the test was it was just a snapshot and it's really hard to diagnose something from that, especially when my heart visibly looked fine too.'</p><p>Since having surgery, Ms Wall feels stronger and like she has been given second chance at life</p><p>Ms Wall is pictured left with a friend in Stockholm in 2017. It was in Sweden, while visiting family, that she was bitten by a Lyme disease-carrying tick in June 2015. Ms Wall has always refused to let her condition hold her back. She is pictured right in 2017 while living in New York</p><p>Determined to stay positive, Ms Wall finished studying, traveled the world and even lived in New York before settling in London. </p><p>'I tried to be mind over matter,' she said. 'I didn't want to sit around and let this take over. Plus, I'd had so many tests, I was beginning to think maybe this was just how my heart worked.'</p><p>But then, in June 2015, a breakthrough finally came for Ms Wall when she was bitten by a tick whilst visiting family in Sweden. She initially thought nothing of it, especially when the bite mark soon disappeared.</p><p>But back in London that October, Ms Wall began to suffer a stiff neck and night sweats.</p><p>'I had been prescribed beta blockers earlier that year to help slow my heart rate but was struggling with side effects, so thought it may be related to that at first,' she said.</p><p>'I stopped taking the beta blockers and some side effects stopped – but the stiff neck and night sweats continued.</p><p>'I've always been someone who tries to work it out for myself rather than rushing straight to the doctors but I couldn't work out what was going on.'</p><p>The following month, Ms Wall visited a 'phenomenal' GP who diagnosed her with Lyme disease via a blood test.</p><p>The infection can spread to the heart, so, given her history, she was referred to a cardiologist at west London's Royal Brompton Hospital.</p><p>After Ms Wall was examined and explained her symptoms, medics mentioned Brugada syndrome for the first time. </p><p>That December, she was given a test where ajmaline - a sodium channel blocker - was injected into her body while she was hooked up to an ECG to monitor her heart's rhythm.</p><p>Results indicated she had Brugada syndrome, which was confirmed in early 2016 via a genetic mutation test.</p><p>'At first, I was scared as I knew hardly anything about Brugada,' Ms Wall said. </p><p>'I called my family and broke the news, trying to be strong for them. That then gave way to relief as it had been very hard to feel believed over the years.</p><p>'It wasn't until a couple of months after my diagnosis it all started to sink in and it dawned on me I was living with the possibility of going in to cardiac arrest at any time.'</p><p>Ms Wall is pictured with another friend in Iceland in 2017. She was diagnosed with Brugada syndrome the year before with her health quickly declining until she could barely walk</p><p>In February 2016, Ms Wall had a cardiac loop recorder implanted, which monitored her heart rate and fed the information back to doctors.</p><p>Although she was reassured by the device, Ms Wall's continued to decline, with her struggling to even walk up a few steps by the following year.  </p><p>And in April 2018, Royal Brompton Hospital called Ms Wall in for an urgent appointment after they noticed her heart rate had skyrocketed to 230 beats per minute - normal is 60-to-100 beats/minute.</p><p>Ms Wall was told she had ventricular tachycardia – where the heart beats faster than normal due to faulty electrical signals – and needed an operation.</p><p>She underwent ablation surgery that April, which involved using heat created by radio waves to destroy the tissue that had been allowing incorrect electrical signals in her heart to be processed.</p><p>'I was in Royal Brompton Hospital for ten days before the surgery to prepare and could hardly move in that time as I needed to rest,' Ms Wall said. </p><p>'Even a walk to the bathroom would make my heart rate shoot up to 200 beats per minute, so I stayed as still as I could.</p><p>'The operation took seven hours in total and I came round feeling relatively okay. Within a couple of days, I already felt so much better that I actually cried. I'd forgotten how it was to feel well.</p><p>'It sounds cliched but it's like I have two lives - before and after the surgery. I felt pure happiness at knowing this is how strong I could feel and how much I could rely on my body.'</p><p>A week later, Ms Wall was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator - sends electrical impulses to regulate the heart's abnormal rhythms - and was sent home. </p><p>Now healthy, Ms Wall feels she has been given a second chance at life and is keen to raise money for - and awareness of - Brugada syndrome. </p><p>'I'm so incredibly grateful to be here today and alive at a time where all these incredible medical breakthroughs are being made,' she said. </p><p>'I live life differently now. Before, I was always on the go but now I am more aware and prefer to take my time. I want to dedicate my time to fundraising, to help others just as I was helped.'</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 16, 2019

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