Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
IVF Pioneer Dies at Age 87
Robert Edwards, the British scientist who was a pioneer of in
vitro fertilization (IVF) has died. He was 87.
The Nobel Prize winner passed away in his sleep, the University
of Cambridge said Wednesday. Edwards was a professor at the
He and colleague Dr. Patrick Steptoe developed IVF, which led to
the birth in 1978 of the world's first test-tube baby, Louise
Brown. Since then, more than 4 million babies have been born using
this technique, the
Edwards received the 2010 Nobel prize in medicine for the
development of IVF. Steptoe was no longer alive and Nobel prizes
are not awarded posthumously.
Young Boy Recovers From H7N9 Bird Flu
A 4-year-old boy in Shanghai who was hospitalized due to
infection with H7N9 bird flu has recovered and been discharged,
according to a doctor in the infectious disease department of the
Pediatric Hospital affiliated with Fudan University in
The doctor, who refused to give her name, said she did not know
if this was the first recovery from H7N9, the
However, the official state news agency
Xinhuadid say that the boy was the first person to
completely recover from H7N9. To date, 28 people in China are
confirmed to have been infected with the new strain of bird flu and
nine of them have died.
People appear to be getting sick from direct contact with
infected birds, according to Chinese officials. But they say it is
difficult to track the virus because it seems to be spreading in
birds without making them ill, the
In related news, South African officials said Tuesday that the
H7N1 bird flu strain has been detected on an ostrich farm and that
farms in a two-mile radius have been quarantined while an
investigation is conducted, the
FDA Probing Problems With Robotic Surgery System
There has been a huge increase in the use of a surgical robot
called da Vinci, but health officials are investigating reports of
a number of problems --including several deaths -- associated with
The robot was used in nearly 400,000 surgeries in the United
States last year, triple the number compared to four years earlier,
The da Vinci is used in a number of procedures, including
removal of gallbladders, wombs and prostates, heart valve repair,
organ transplants and reducing stomach size. Surgeons control the
robot while sitting at a computer screen.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating
reports of problems with the da Vinci and the high cost of using
the system. Those incidents include: a robotic hand that would not
release tissue grasped during surgery; a woman who died when a
blood vessel was nicked during a hysterectomy; and a man whose
colon was perforated during prostate surgery, the
Some doctors say aggressive marketing and the technological
appeal of the robot have helped increase its use and that it is
time to take a closer look at the device. They contend that there
is not enough proof that robotic surgery is at least as good or
better than conventional surgeries.
Proponents say patients who undergo robotic surgery sometimes
have less bleeding and often leave hospital sooner than those who
have conventional laparoscopic or open surgery, the
However, the FDA is looking into an increase in the number of
reported problems involving the da Vinci system. At least five
deaths are mentioned in reports filed since early last year.
The da Vinci is the only FDA-approved robotic system for
soft-tissue surgery. Other robotic devices are approved for other
types of operations, including neurosurgery and orthopedic
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