My presentation at the Grand Rounds of the University of Cincinnati

It was a great privilege to have been invited by Prof Myles Pensak to deliver an online presentation at the  University Cincinnati Health Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Grand Rounds on 10 May 2023. The topic was on Neur-otology in Southern Africa.

During the presentation, I had the opportunity to highlight some interesting facts about South Africa, including some of the unique challenges we face as a nation. The discussion focused on my experience as a neur-otologist in South Africa with two rare medical conditions, Sclerosteosis and Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS).

Overall, it was an insightful and engaging session that provided valuable insights into these rare conditions and their impact on individuals and communities. I am genuinely thankful for the opportunity to have shared my experiences and knowledge with the esteemed audience at the University of Cincinnati, and I hope that the discussion will pave the way for further research and innovation in this field.

My presentation at the Grand Rounds of the University of Cincinnati
Professor Myles Pensak

Christiaan Barnard and Nelson Mandela

In the field of medical science, the first successful heart transplant is a momentous occasion that is widely acknowledged as a breakthrough in the history of cardiology. The 1967 heart transplant conducted by Christiaan Barnard, a South African surgeon, has been hailed as a remarkable achievement in medical science, and it paved the way for further innovations in the field. The procedure marked a significant milestone in human transplantation and opened up a new frontier of possible treatments for end-stage heart disease.

In the political arena, the legacy of Nelson Mandela in the abolition of apartheid is a much-celebrated movement that has transcended international borders. Mandela, the iconic leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, dedicated his life to fighting for justice, equality, and freedom from oppression. After serving 27 years in prison for his beliefs, he emerged as a beacon of hope for millions of people worldwide and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his efforts to end apartheid.

South Africa’s wealth

South Africa, is known for its vast wealth of minerals and natural resources. Among these are its abundant gold reserves and world-renowned diamond industry. The nation is also home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes and wildlife reserves in the world. From Kruger National Park to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, South Africa offers an array of unique experiences for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Another noteworthy characteristic of South Africa is its impressive wine production, with its vineyards producing some of the most exquisite wines worldwide, including our unique Pinotage. The country boasts a rich culture and a diverse population, with 11 official languages spoken.

Sclerosteosis and Marble Bone disease

Sclerosteosis is a rare genetic disorder characterised by abnormal bone growth and hardening, leading to thickening of the bones of the skull, jaws, and limbs. Marble bone disease is an umbrella term for numerous conditions characterised by hard, dense bone, including sclerosteosis.  This can cause compression of nerves and blood vessels, leading to symptoms such as facial paralysis, vision and hearing loss. Other symptoms may include  dental problems, finger abnormalities and increased size of the head.

My presentation at the Grand Rounds of the University of Cincinnati
Marble bone disease and sclerosteosis

Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome

Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS) is a condition where there is a hole or thinning in the bone that separates the inner ear from the brain, leading to a range of symptoms, including dizziness, vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. Individuals with SCDS may also experience sound and pressure sensitivity, muscle spasms, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Sclerosteosis and SCDS are chronic conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s overall quality of life. Treatment options may include medication, surgery, and physical therapy, depending on the severity of symptoms and underlying causes.


South Africa faces several challenges that present significant barriers to the country’s growth and prosperity. One of the most pressing issues is poverty, which continues to impact millions nationwide. High levels of unemployment further exacerbate this problem, leaving many South Africans without a reliable source of income or means of supporting themselves and their families.

In addition to economic struggles, South Africa also faces significant health challenges. HIV prevalence remains high, with millions of people living with the virus and suffering its adverse effects. Tuberculosis also poses a severe threat, with increased infection rates and limited access to healthcare services among vulnerable populations.

Furthermore, electricity shortages and load shedding by Eskom have created an environment of uncertainty and instability, threatening the country’s ability to maintain reliable energy supplies.

The future

Despite these difficulties, however, there is reason for hope. South Africa remains a resilient and resourceful nation with a long history of overcoming adversity and facing complex challenges. With leadership, commitment, and cooperation, it is possible to address these and other issues and build a better, more prosperous future for all South Africans.