World First in Canada
Doctors at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital saved a newborn from a range of potential cardiac issues, by operating on him whilst he was still inside his mother’s womb.
The team of fetal medicine specialist and cardiologists successfully carried out the balloon atrial septoplasty five days before Sebastian Havill was born, having discovered that the main two arteries of his heart were reversed during prenatal checks. Further complications also arose when it became clear that his heart’s interior walls were sealed together.
Senior cardiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, opposite Mount Sinai, Dr Rajiv Chaturvedi highlighted why it was vital that the procedure was carried out prior to Sebastian’s birth. He said: “In most cases, newborn babies with heart defects can be rushed from the neonatal unit at Mount Sinai Hospital to the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) across the street, but the closed walls of Sebastian's heart made it unable to automatically circulate oxygen once he lost access to the oxygen supplied via the placenta. That meant there would be little time to save from Sebastian from severe complications after he left his mother's womb.”
Having successfully carried out what is believed to be the world’s first balloon atrial septoplasty in the womb, medics still needed to perform open heart surgery on the infant when he was born. That was carried out successfully, and he’s now living just as a normal child would back home in Ontario.
Employers Urged to Increase Mental Health Support for Employees
Employers across New Zealand are being urged to step up their support for their staff with mental health issues, after a new survey revealed that a fifth of all workers in the country had been diagnosed with anxiety, bipolar disorder or depression.
Mental health is considered by many to be the biggest health issue facing New Zealand, with the country already being home to the developed world’s highest youth suicide rate. As a result an increasing number of organisations are now supporting employees who need to take ‘mental health days’, just as they would with physical illness.
Not every business allows this yet however, and the definition of illness is still at the company’s discretion, something that many experts believe needs to change.
Earlier this year Ben Congleton, Chief Executive, of American software company Olark hit the headlines, after publicising his supportive response to an employee asking for time off to focus on their mental health.
His email read: “I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health – I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organisations. You are an example to us all and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”
New Medical 3D Printing Centre opened in Singapore
The National University of Singapore has launched a new $18m 3D printing centre, aimed at developing tissue regeneration, implants and drug formulations in the near future.
Based at the University’s campus in Kent Ridge to the south of the island, the new facility is set to lead the world in the development of 3D printing for biomedical purposes, by pulling together the expertise of the University’s medical school, faculties of science, engineering and design and dentistry school.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Jerry Fuh Ying-Hsi, co-director of the centre, said: “The NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing will play a critical role in supporting Singapore's vision of becoming a leading AM hub. Through this inter-faculty pooling of expertise, we hope to boost technology capabilities as well as advance intellectual property development and commercialisation of AM-enabled biomedical technologies.”