Saturday, 7 December 2019

1st baby born using uterus transplanted from deceased donor

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

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

Experts said 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.

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,"

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.

The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth by cesarean section. 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. Details of the first case were published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.

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.

In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic 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.

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 Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal. "These transplants will help us understand implantation and every stage of pregnancy."

(Source: BI)

A woman interviewed 100 convicted rapists in India. This is what she learned

In India, many consider them “monsters.”

Madhumita Pandey was only 22 when she first went to Tihar Jail in New Delhi to meet and interview convicted rapists in India. Over the past three years, she has interviewed 100 of them for her doctoral thesis at the criminology department of Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom.

It all started in 2013, first as a pilot project, months after the highly publicized gang rape and murder of a woman now known as “Nirbhaya” meaning “Fearless One.” The details of the case — a young, aspirational medical student who was attacked on the way home with a friend after watching the movie “Life of Pi” — struck a chord in India, where according to the National Crime Records Bureau, 34,651 women reported being raped in 2015, the most recent year on record.

Nirbhaya brought thousands of Indians to the streets to protest the widespread culture of rape and violence against women in 2012. That year, gender specialists ranked India the worst place among G-20 countries to be a woman, worse even than Saudi Arabia where women have to live under the supervision of a male guardian.

“Everyone was thinking the same thing,” said Pandey, who at the time was on the other side of the world, in England, finishing off her master’s. “Why do these men do what they do? We think of them as monsters, we think no human being could do something like that.”
Madhumita Pandey, 26, has interviewed 100 convicted rapists in India. (Madhumita Pandey)

The protests forced a national conversation about rape, a topic which still carries huge stigma in India. Pandey, who grew up in New Delhi, and saw her city in a new light after the Nirbhaya case, said: “I thought, what prompts these men? What are the circumstances which produce men like this? I thought, ask the source.”

Since then, she has spent weeks talking to rapists in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Most of the men she met there were uneducated, only a handful had graduated high school. Many were third- or fourth-grade dropouts. “When I went to research, I was convinced these men are monsters. But when you talk to them, you realize these are not extraordinary men, they are really ordinary. What they’ve done is because of upbringing and thought process.”

In Indian households, even in more educated families, women are often bound to traditional roles, Pandey said. Many women won’t even use their husbands’ first names, she pointed out. “As an experiment, I phoned a few friends and asked: what does your mom call your dad? The answers I got were things like ‘are you listening,’ ‘listen,’ or ‘father of Ronak’ (the child’s name).’”

“Men are learning to have false ideas about masculinity, and women are also learning to be submissive. It is happening in the same household, Pandey said. “Everyone’s out to make it look like there’s something inherently wrong with [rapists]. But they are a part of our own society. They are not aliens who’ve been brought in from another world.”

Pandey said that hearing some of the rapists talk reminded her of commonly held beliefs that were often parroted even in her own household. “After you speak to [the rapists], it shocks you — these men have the power to make you feel sorry for them. As a woman that’s not how you expect to feel. I would almost forget that these men have been convicted of raping a woman. In my experience a lot of these men don’t realize that what they've done is rape. They don't understand what consent is.”

“Then you ask yourself, is it just these men? Or is the vast majority of men?” she said.

In India, social attitudes are highly conservative. Sex education is left out of most school curriculums; legislators feel such topics could “corrupt” youth and offend traditional values. “Parents won't even say the words like penis, vagina, rape or sex. If they can't get over that, how can they educate young boys?” Pandey asked.

In the interviews, many men made excuses or gave justifications for their actions. Many denied rape happened at all. “There were only three or four who said we are repenting. Others had found a way to put their actions into some justification, neutralize, or blame action onto the victim.”

One case in particular, participant 49, sent Pandey on an unexpected journey. He expressed remorse for raping a 5-year-old girl. “He said ‘yes I feel bad, I ruined her life.’ Now she is no longer a virgin, no one would marry her. Then he said, ‘I would accept her, I will marry her when I come out of jail.’”

The response shocked Pandey so much that she felt compelled to find out about the victim. The man had revealed details of the girl’s whereabouts in the interview. When she found the girl's mother, she learned that the family had not even been told that their daughter’s rapist was in jail.

Pandey hopes to publish her research in the coming months but said she faces hostility for her work. “They think, here comes another feminist. They assume a woman doing research like this will misrepresent men’s ideas. Where do you begin with someone like that?” she said.

(Source: WP)

Friday, 6 December 2019

Children in Delhi smoke 10 cigarettes a day just by breathing

The DIU analysed the pollution statistics of the national capital from 20 October to 21 November and found out that the city's air was so toxic that on average each resident inhaled smoke equivalent to puffing about 340 cigarettes.

Smoking is injurious to health'. We see this slogan pasted everywhere, from movie scenes to massive roadside banners. Smoking is also prohibited to minors. Yet, children in Delhi are smoking 10 cigarettes every day, just by breathing the city's toxic air. The India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) found that, on an average, every Delhi resident smoked about 340 cigarettes between 20 October to 21 November because of the high pollution in the city's air.
Children in Delhi are smoking 10 cigarettes every day | REUTERS image for representation

The DIU analysed the pollution statistics of the national capital for 33 days, from 20 October to 21 November (till 5 pm) and found out that the city's air was so toxic that, on average, each resident inhaled smoke equivalent to puffing about 340 cigarettes.

This is calculated on the basis of the high level of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) which is harming the lungs of every person in the city.

According to an analysis by Richard Muller and Elizabeth Muller of Berkley Earth, exposure to 22 micrograms per cubic metres of PM 2.5 is equivalent to smoking one cigarette a day. This means that if the PM 2.5 level in the air is 300, it will be equal to inhaling smoke of 14 cigarettes.

Using air pollution data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board, the DIU found that between 20 October to 21 November (5 pm), the average level of PM 2.5 for all the monitoring stations in Delhi was 227, which translates to 10 cigarettes per day.

Which day did you smoke the most?
The daily average of PM 2.5 for Delhi reveals that the maximum harm was done around Diwali.

The festival was celebrated on 27 October and this is when you can see that the levels of PM 2.5 started rising significantly. While on Diwali, polluted air was equivalent to smoking nine cigarettes, it spiked the next day to 14 cigarettes because of higher concentration of PM 2.5.

The toxicity in the air remained extremely high for seven consecutive days after Diwali. The situation was worst on November 3 when the average PM 2.5 level was 582, which is 23 times higher than the World Health Organisation's prescribed limit of 25 micrograms per cubic meters (24 hours mean). That was like smoking 26 cigarettes in just one day.

Toxic air is reducing your life
In a previousarticle published by the DIU, we had mentioned that Delhi's air is so toxic that it has cut down the average life expectancy of residents by almost 17 years.

Another terrifying fact is the number of deaths due to air pollution in the country. The DIU had analysed that the mortality rate because of toxic air is 134 per 1,00,000 people, which is almost double the global average of 64.

Dirty air spreads to Rajya Sabha
Last week, a high-level meeting was called by the Parliament's Standing Committee on Urban Development to discuss air pollution in Delhi. However, several politicians and government officials gave it a miss, including Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, who were then trolled vehemently on social media.

But, politicians seem more serious about the matter now, with Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar listing several steps to combat Delhi's pollution. One of them is the urgent need to create urban forests.

(Source: India Today)

Losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend

Recently, my wife and I went through one of the more excruciating experiences of our lives—the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy. I remember making eye contact with Murphy moments before she took her last breath—she flashed me a look that was an endearing blend of confusion and the reassurance that everything was okay because we were both by her side.

When people who have never had a dog see their dog-owning friends mourn the loss of a pet, they probably think it’s all a bit of an overreaction; after all, it’s “just a dog.”

However, those who have loved a dog know the truth: Your own pet is never “just a dog.”

Many times, I’ve had friends guiltily confide to me that they grieved more over the loss of a dog than over the loss of friends or relatives. Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is, in almost every way, comparable to the loss of a human loved one. Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook—no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service—to help us get through the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs.

Perhaps if people realized just how strong and intense the bond is between people and their dogs, such grief would become more widely accepted. This would greatly help dog owners to integrate the death into their lives and help them move forward.

An interspecies bond like no other
What is it about dogs, exactly, that make humans bond so closely with them?

For starters, dogs have had to adapt to living with humans over the past 10,000 years. And they’ve done it very well: They’re the only animal to have evolved specifically to be our companions and friends. Anthropologist Brian Hare has developed the “Domestication Hypothesis” to explain how dogs morphed from their grey wolf ancestors into the socially skilled animals that we now interact with in very much the same way as we interact with other people.

Perhaps one reason our relationships with dogs can be even more satisfying than our human relationships is that dogs provide us with such unconditional, uncritical positive feedback. (As the old saying goes, “May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am.”)

This is no accident. They have been selectively bred through generations to pay attention to people, and MRI scans show that dog brains respond to praise from their owners just as strongly as they do to food (and for some dogs, praise is an even more effective incentive than food). Dogs recognize people and can learn to interpret human emotional states from facial expression alone. Scientific studies also indicate that dogs can understand human intentions, try to help their owners and even avoid people who don’t cooperate with their owners or treat them well.

Not surprisingly, humans respond positively to such unrequited affection, assistance and loyalty. Just looking at dogs can make people smile. Dog owners score higher on measures of well-being and they are happier, on average, than people who own cats or no pets at all.

Like a member of the family
Our strong attachment to dogs was subtly revealed in a recent study of “misnaming.” Misnaming happens when you call someone by the wrong name, like when parents mistakenly calls one of their kids by a sibling’s name. It turns out that the name of the family dog also gets confused with human family members, indicating that the dog’s name is being pulled from the same cognitive pool that contains other members of the family. (Curiously, the same thing rarely happens with cat names.)

It’s no wonder dog owners miss them so much when they’re gone.

Psychologist Julie Axelrod has pointed out that the loss of a dog is so painful because owners aren’t just losing the pet. It could mean the loss of a source of unconditional love, a primary companion who provides security and comfort, and maybe even a protégé that’s been mentored like a child.

The loss of a dog can also seriously disrupt an owner’s daily routine more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives. For owners, their daily schedules—even their vacation plans—can revolve around the needs of their pets. Changes in lifestyle and routine are some of the primary sources of stress.

According to a recent survey, many bereaved pet owners will even mistakenly interpret ambiguous sights and sounds as the movements, pants and whimpers of the deceased pet. This is most likely to happen shortly after the death of the pet, especially among owners who had very high levels of attachment to their pets.

While the death of a dog is horrible, dog owners have become so accustomed to the reassuring and nonjudgmental presence of their canine companions that, more often than not, they’ll eventually get a new one.

So yes, I miss my dog. But I’m sure that I’ll be putting myself through this ordeal again in the years to come.

(Source: Quartz)

Thursday, 5 December 2019

A woman with a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor gave birth — for the first time in the US and the second time in the world

A woman with a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor gave birth to a baby girl in Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic announced Tuesday. It is the first reported birth of its kind in the US and second worldwide.

Doctors at the clinic delivered the baby via cesarean section in June. Both the transplant and the birth are part of on-going clinical research to help women who are unable to have a baby due to uterine factor infertility according to a press release from the Cleveland Clinic.

The woman, whose name was not released due to privacy reasons, was born without a uterus, and doctors transplanted the womb of a deceased donor in late 2017, according to the press release. She later became pregnant in late 2018 via in vitro fertilization.

"It was amazing how perfectly normal this delivery was, considering how extraordinary the occasion," Andreas Tzakis, Cleveland Clinic transplant surgeon, said in a statement. "Through this research, we aim to make these extraordinary events, ordinary for the women who choose this option. We are grateful to the donor and her family; their generosity allowed our patient's dream to come true and a new baby to be born."

The Cleveland Clinic research team completed five uterus transplants so far, three of which were successful, according to the statement. Of the three transplants, one resulted in the June birth, while two other women are waiting for embryo transfers. There is also a list of several woman waiting for transplants.

Unlike similar research being conducted in the US, the Cleveland Clinic differs in that the transplanted uterus must come from a deceased donor rather than living in order to "eliminate risk" to a living donor, according to the press release.

"We couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Everything went wonderfully with the delivery; the mother and baby girl are doing great," Uma Perni, Cleveland Clinic maternal fetal medicine specialist, said in a statement. "It's important to remember this is still research. The field of uterus transplantation is rapidly evolving, and it's exciting to see what the options may be for women in the future."

(Source: Insider)