Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 7th 2017 Contents Thomas Starzl, the doctor
who pioneered liver transplant
surgery, has died at the age of
90. In an announcement on its
website,the University of Pitts-
burgh Medical Center said Starzl
died peacefully at his home on
"His work in neuroscience,
metabolism, transplantation and
immunology has brought life and
hope to countless patients, and his
teaching in these areas has spread
that capacity for good to countless
practitioners and researchers every-
where," his family wrote in a state-
ment issued Sunday by UPMC and
the University of Pittsburgh.
"With determination and irresist-
ible resolve, Thomas Starzl advanced
medicine through his intuition and
uncanny insight into both the tech-
nical and human aspects of even the
most challenging problems."
By the time he died, Starzl widely
enjoyed a towering reputation in the
medical profession---but this was not
always the case.
The doctor, who eventually
became known as the "father of
transplantation," drew his fair share
of criticism when he began experi-
menting with transplants.
"Transplanting was hardly even
thought of as a possibility then,"
Starzl once said. "I was working
In 1963, Starzl led the team of
surgeons that performed the world's
first liver transplant. The patient, a
child who had been born with half a
liver, did not survive that operation
due to excessive blood loss.
Undeterred, Starzl attempted the
operation again just two months lat-
er on another patient who suffered
from liver cancer. This time, it ap-
peared to be a success---until the man
died three weeks afterward, this time
from blood clotting.
Still, Starzl kept working, also re-
searching drugs to block the human
immune system from rejecting its
newly implanted organ. And by the
late 1970s, the survival rate for pa-
tients undergoing liver transplanta-
tion had risen to roughly 40 per cent.
When in the early '80s he left
the University of Colorado for the
University of Pittsburgh, where we
would go on to spend more than three
decades, Starzl and his surgical team
had already transplanted more than
Under his leadership, UPMC
would go on to become one of the
world's foremost transplant centres.
A22 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Polluted environments kill
1.7m children a year: WHO
A quarter of all global deaths of
children under five are due to un-
healthy or polluted environments
including dirty water and air, sec-
ond-hand smoke and a lack or ad-
equate hygiene, the World Health
Organization (WHO) said last week.
Such unsanitary and polluted en-
vironments can lead to fatal cases of
diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia,
the WHO said in a report, and kill 1.7
million children a year.
"A polluted environment is a deadly
one---particularly for young children,"
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan
said in a statement.
"Their developing organs and im-
mune systems, and smaller bodies and
airways, make them especially vulner-
able to dirty air and water."
In the report---Inheriting a Sustain-
able World: Atlas on Children's Health
and the Environment---the WHO said
harmful exposure can start in the womb,
and then continue if infants and tod-
dlers are exposed to indoor and outdoor
air pollution and second-hand smoke.
This increases their childhood risk of
pneumonia as well as their lifelong risk
of chronic respiratory diseases such as
asthma. Air pollution also increases the
lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and
cancer, the report said.
The report also noted that in house-
holds without access to safe water and
sanitation, or that are polluted with
smoke from unclean fuels such as coal
or dung for cooking and heating, chil-
dren are at higher risk of diarrhoea and
Children are also exposed to harmful
chemicals through food, water, air and
products around them, it said.
Maria Neira, a WHO expert on public
health, said this was a heavy toll, both
in terms of deaths and long-term illness
and disease rates. She urged govern-
ments to do more to make all places
safe for children.
"Investing in the removal of environ-
mental risks to health, such as improv-
ing water quality or using cleaner fuels,
will result in massive health benefits,"
she said. (Reuters)
Children look for plastic bottles at the polluted Bagmati River in Kathmandu
March 22, 2013. AP PHOTO
The world's first test-tube baby
and America's first test-tube baby
are going to meet face-to-face for
the first time this year.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that
38-year-old Louise Brown and 35-year-
old Elizabeth Carr are scheduled to
meet at a fertility conference in June
Brown became the world's first in
vitro fertilisation baby when she was
born July 25, 1978, in Bristol, England.
Carr is the first IVF baby in the US
She was born December 28, 1981, in
Carr, who lives in Massachusetts and
works for an organisation that advo-
cates for people with disabilities, said
in a Facebook post that she's excited
to meet Brown. (AP)
First test-tube babies in world,
US to meet for 1st time
German authorities say they
expect to have a cannabis-grow-
ing programme up and running in
2019 after the country approved
legislation allowing some patients
to get the drug as a prescription
Germany's Federal Institute for
Drugs and Medical Devices said last
week that it's setting up a "cannabis
agency" to oversee the growing pro-
gramme. It plans to solicit bids from
throughout the European Union to find
companies to run it.
The programme's first cannabis is
expected to be available in 2019. Un-
til then, prescriptions will be fulfilled
with imported marijuana, which cur-
rently comes from the Netherlands and
The government has stressed Germa-
ny's new rules don't mean marijuana
will be legal for non-medical purposes.
Patients in Germany previously had
to seek special authorisation to use the
drug. About 1,000 people did so. (AP)
Germany expects cannabis-growing
programme to be going in 2019
Thomas Starzl, trailblazer in
organ transplantation, dies at 90
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