Tag Archives: deceased

Healthy baby born to woman following uterus transplant from deceased donor

Brazilian doctors are reporting the world's first baby born to a woman who received a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor.

The case, published in The Lancet medical journal, involved connecting veins from the donor uterus with the recipient's veins, as well as linking arteries, ligaments and vaginal canals.

Eleven previous births have used a transplanted womb but from a living donor, usually a relative or friend.

Experts say using uteruses from women who have died could make more transplants possible. Ten previous attempts using deceased donors in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the U.S. have failed.

Baby almost a year old

The baby girl was delivered last December by a woman born without a uterus because of a rare syndrome. The woman — a 32-year-old psychologist — was initially apprehensive about the transplant, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team's lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine.

"This was the most important thing in her life," he said. "Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy."

Doctors perform the womb transplant procedure at the hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil Dec. 15, 2017 in this picture handout obtained today. ( Hospital das Clinicas da FMUSP/via Reuters)

The woman became pregnant through in vitro fertilization seven months after the transplant. The donor was a 45-year-old woman who had three children and died of a stroke.

More transplants planned

The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth at 35 weeks and three days by cesarean section. The baby weighed nearly six pounds. Doctors also removed the womb, partly so the woman would no longer have to take anti-rejection medicines. Nearly a year later, mother and baby are both healthy.

Two more transplants are planned as part of the Brazilian study. 

Uterus transplantation was pioneered by Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom, who has delivered eight children from women who got wombs from family members or friends. Two babies have been born at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas and one in Serbia, also from transplants from living donors.

Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom pioneered uterus transplantation. (Adam Ihse/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed after an infection developed.

"The Brazilian group has proven that using deceased donors is a viable option," said the clinic's Dr. Tommaso Falcone, who was involved in the Ohio case. "It may give us a bigger supply of organs than we thought were possible."

The Cleveland program is continuing to use deceased donors. Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for nearly eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is. Doctors try to keep the time an organ is without blood flow to a minimum.

The mysteries of pregnancy

Other experts said the knowledge gained from such procedures might also solve some lingering mysteries about pregnancies.

"There are still lots of things we don't understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant," said Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal. "These transplants will help us understand implantation and every stage of pregnancy."

Experts estimate that infertility affects around 10 to 15 per cent of couples of reproductive age worldwide. Of this group, around one in 500 women have uterine problems.

Before uterus transplants became possible, the only options to have a child were adoption or surrogacy.

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Brain study of deceased NFL players shows 99% had signs of CTE

The brains of 99 per cent of former National Football League players showed signs of a disease linked to repeated hits to the head that can lead to aggression and dementia, according to research published in a leading medical journal on Tuesday.

The findings were based on the broadest review yet of the brains of former football players for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The condition, also known as CTE, is linked to the sort of head-to-head hits that were long a part of the sport, though the NFL and school leagues have been tweaking the game in recent years to limit blows to the head.

“The data suggest that there is very likely a relationship between exposure to football and risk of developing the disease,” said Jesse Mez, a Boston University School of Medicine assistant professor of neurology, who was lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers studied the brains of 202 former athletes who had played football in the NFL, the Canadian Football League or at the college or high school level and found signs of CTE in the brains of 110 of the former 111 NFL players.

Study limited to deceased players

The condition, which currently can be diagnosed only by taking brain tissue from a dead subject, has been diagnosed in former players including Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau and Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson, who both committed suicide.

The researchers noted that the study had limitations including that the subjects’ brains were donated by their families, and that families were more likely to opt into the study if the players had showed symptoms of CTE.

“We do not know what proportion of football players, or any group, for that matter, develop CTE,” said Dr. Munro Cullum, a neuropsychologist with the O’Donnell Brain Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The NFL, which last year pledged $ 100 million for neuromedical research, said the study would help the league and players to understand the condition.

“The NFL is committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries,” said NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy, in an email.

The study found signs of CTE in the brains of 91 per cent of the 53 former college players whose brains were studied and 21 per cent of the former high school players. 

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