Health Highlights: July 8, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

John Kerry's Wife Transferred to Boston Hospital

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, was transferred from Nantucket Cottage Hospital to a hospital in Boston on Sunday night, according to a person connected with the family.

The person was not authorized to speak on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press reported. Details on the cause of the illness have not been released.

Heinz Kerry, 74, was admitted to the emergency department in Nantucket after 3:30 p.m. Sunday. She arrived in critical condition and remained that way early Sunday evening, but her condition had been stabilized, according to a hospital spokesperson.

She was transferred to the hospital in Boston by air. Heinz Kerry is the widow of former U.S. Senator John Heinz and married John Kerry in 1995, the AP reported.

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Toddler With Bioengineered Windpipe Dies

A 2-year-old girl who in April became the youngest person ever to receive a bioengineered organ died on the weekend.

Hannah Warren was born without a windpipe (trachea) and underwent the experimental surgery on April 9. The bioengineered windpipe was made with plastic fibers and cells taken from Hannah's bone marrow. It was the sixth surgery of its kind worldwide and the first to be performed in the United States, The New York Times reported.

The procedure also involved surgery on Hannah's esophagus, which never healed properly. She underwent a second operation a month ago to correct the problem and died from complications of that procedure, according to Dr. Mark J. Holterman, a pediatric surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.

"The trachea was never a problem. It was her native tissue that was very fragile," said Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, a specialist in the field of regenerative medicine who implanted the bioengineered windpipe, The Times reported.

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New Gene Sequencing Method Could Boost IVF Success Rate

A new gene sequencing technique to select a viable embryo for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has led to the birth of a health baby boy, researchers announced Monday.

IVF has a high failure rate, with only about 30 percent of fertilized embryos resulting in pregnancy. Genetic defects are believed to a major reason. This new method -- called next generation sequencing (NGS) -- uses updated technology to sequence the entire genome of an embryo and identify genetic problems, Agence France-Presse reported.

"Many of the embryos produced during infertility treatments have no chance of becoming a baby because they carry lethal genetic abnormalities," Dagan Wells, of the University of Oxford's NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in the U.K., said in a statement. "Next generation sequencing improves our ability to detect these abnormalities and helps us identify the embryos with the best chances of producing a viable pregnancy."

The research was presented Monday at a meeting in London of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, AFP reported.

Posted: July 2013


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