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Hydatid Cyst, A Veritable Example Of Fractals In Medicine!

By Dr Tosin Akindele

I had cause to read about the fern leaf and some medieval architecture as I explored the world of Fractal Geometry...and something sprang to my mind!

It just occurred to me that the daughter cysts of Echinococcus Granulosus as they divide and subdivide in an apparently unending fashion aptly exemplify the concept of "Self Similarity" in Fractal Geometry!

The cited organism is a parasite reknowned for causing abdominal cysts called Hydatid Cysts...and rightly dreaded by surgeons!

There is an adage that says that it takes a dumb surgeon to puncture a Hydatid Cyst!

This legendary dread of an accidental puncture at surgery is predicated on the "potency" of the daughter cysts, the grand-daughter cysts, and the great grand-daughter cysts...and other subsequent daughter cysts after them ad infinitum, to reinfect entire abdominal cavities ...

A phenomenon called seeding!
At puncture, the daughter cysts and their broods spill out of the mother cyst like grains of Garri to commence the process of "re-colonization as each daughter cyst is capable of growing into a full-sized cyst...each with yet its own broods of daughter cysts!

It has been said that knowledge is like a vast accumulation of dots (as we did in school) while experience connects those dots (in our working years) . The more reason why points that we struggled to understand in school are much easier to comprehend after school.

Well, I suppose my allusion between Medicine and Mathematics is yet another example of connecting those dots!

Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical doctor and public affairs analyst.