Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
- Brannstrom went on to become the first doctor to deliver babies — five so far — from women with donated wombs
- Over the next decade, Brannstrom and his team performed hundreds of uterus transplants in rats, sheep, pigs and monkeys
- The wombs are intended to be kept for a maximum of two pregnancies and are then removed so that patients can stop taking anti-rejection medicines
Stockholm, October 8, 2016: When the young Australian cervical cancer patient learned she had to lose her womb in order to survive, she proposed something audacious to the doctor who was treating her: She asked if she could have a womb transplant, so she could one day carry her own baby.
NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.
This was nearly two decades ago when the Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom was training to be a physician abroad.
“I thought she was a bit crazy,” Brannstrom said.
But Brannstrom didn’t dismiss her idea. Instead, after he returned to Sweden he began a series of painstaking research projects to learn whether it might be possible to transplant a womb, despite criticism that the unheard-of procedure was dangerous, medically unnecessary, and impossible.
Brannstrom went on to become the first doctor to deliver babies — five so far — from women with donated wombs. No other doctor in the world has succeeded, despite attempts in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and ongoing efforts in China, Britain, France, the Czech Republic and elsewhere.
The first of Brannstrom’s patients’ babies was born in 2014 and the fifth arrived in January; another is due in early 2017.
Brannstrom is working with doctors at Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic to help women beyond Sweden get access to the procedure. Doctors at Baylor University in Texas, including two former members of Brannstrom’s team, announced this week they performed four womb transplants. One was successful, but not yet ready to attempt a pregnancy.
NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.
And scientists, many of whom were both doubtful and critical before, now believe Brannstrom’s work could help them extend the use of organs for those who need transplants and learn how embryos implant in the uterus after conception, a poorly understood but critical stage in pregnancy.
Early studies, custom-made tools
To figure out if womb transplants were even feasible, Brannstrom first asked Rana Akouri, then one of his doctoral students, to start experimenting in rodents in 1999. He picked Akouri because of her delicate surgical skills — a mouse uterus is only less than an inch long (about 2 centimeters). The surgery was so complex, Akouri needed four custom-made tools to perform the microscopic operations.
After nearly two years, Akouri noticed in the belly of one of her mice a slight bulge. Too impatient to wait, she performed a cesarean section that evening — and found two tiny babies inside.
“I called Mats at 10pm and told him, ‘one of our mice is pregnant!’” she said.
That night, Brannstrom said, was the first time he thought that a womb transplant in humans might actually be possible.
“If it hadn’t worked in mice, we would have quit,” he said.
Transplants, tests, travel
Over the next decade, Brannstrom and his team performed hundreds of uterus transplants in rats, sheep, pigs and monkeys. Because Sweden forbids experiments in non-human primates, Brannstrom and 10 other doctors and nurses flew to Kenya nearly 20 times to perfect things like their surgical technique and the use of immune-suppressing drugs in baboons.
Brannstrom described the less-than-ideal conditions in Nairobi — no regular showers and power failures during surgery — as “team-building” experiences. Wooden carvings of African birds picked up during those trips now adorn several shelves at Brannstrom’s fertility clinic in Stockholm.
‘Into the unknown’
In 2012, it was time to try the surgery in humans. He obtained ethical permission to perform womb transplants in nine Swedish women. He then held an information session one evening in the southern city of Gothenburg, where the operations were to take place.
“We were quite frank in telling them, ‘This is not an infertility treatment, you’re participating in a scientific trial,’” he said. “We’re going into the unknown.”
Of the nine women who had the transplants, two had their wombs removed when complications arose. Five women had healthy babies and the last two are trying to get pregnant.
At the time, many fertility experts considered it an outlandish pursuit.
“I thought this was crazy, a high-risk surgery for no reason,” said Dr. Tommaso Falcone of the Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. But a trip to Sweden to see Brannstrom’s clinic changed his mind. Falcone is now at the forefront of the Cleveland Clinic’s womb transplantation project. He and colleagues performed the first such operation in the U.S. in February, although the organ had to be removed after the patient developed an infection.
Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.
Falcone predicts that Brannstrom’s work will lead to a better understanding of embryo implantation. And he marveled at the fact that babies have been born from organs once flushed with a cold solution — rendering them technically dead — before being placed into the recipient.
“Miscarriages are happening all over the place but here you have these dead uteruses that can carry a baby,” he said.
‘Rejuvenating’ older wombs
Other experts thought it was astonishing that wombs of some post-menopausal women were able to grow healthy babies after being transplanted. Doctors typically expect younger organs to work better, but in the case of womb transplantation, organs from older women appeared “rejuvenated” after being dosed with hormones.
“All of a sudden, you have this old organ doing things that you only expected a young uterus to do,” said Dr. Stefan Tullius, chair of transplant surgery at Harvard Medical School, who said that could lead to insights into extending the use of other organs.
Until now, Brannstrom has only used live donors, considered by some to be unethical because it means putting a healthy woman at risk for a procedure that isn’t life-saving. The wombs are intended to be kept for a maximum of two pregnancies and are then removed so that patients can stop taking anti-rejection medicines.
Brannstrom believes doctors in other countries will soon deliver more babies from women with transplanted wombs and predicts that the surgery will one day become routine.
Emelie Eriksson, who received a womb transplant and then had a baby boy in 2014, said she could never thank Brannstrom enough.
“I think I need to thank him a thousand times more,” she said. “He’s my hero. He made it possible for me to have a child.” (VOA)
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City
Super model and actress Hailey Bieber said she is lucky to have a husband like Justin Bieber, refuting rumours of the ace singer not treating her properly. Hailey was speaking at singer Demi Lovato's podcast '4D With Demi Lovato', dailymail.co.uk reported.
Talking about her popstar husband and rumours around their marriage, Hailey said: "I think one of the biggest things is you have to know what the truth is behind everything. You know, there's so many narratives that float around about me, about him, about us together." She addressed the rumours point blank as she said: "There's one big fat narrative that goes around that's like, 'Justin is not nice to her, and that he mistreats her', and I'm just like, it's so far from the truth, and it's the complete and utter opposite."
Hailey went on to set the record straight about Justin, who she married in 2018. She said: "I really am lucky to say I'm with someone who is extremely respectful of me, who makes me feel special every single day. So when I see the opposite of that, I'm just like, 'Huh?' And everybody around who knows us personally would say the same thing." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Hailey Bieber, Justin Bieber, husband, respectful, truth, married
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism