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Health Highlights: July 8, 2013

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

Lung Transplant Girl Has Pneumonia

The 10-year-old girl who received a lung transplant after a legal battle has pneumonia in her right lung, according to her mother.

Doctors believe that Sarah Murnaghan's pneumonia is caused by "aspirations from her belly," her mother Janet Murnaghan said in a Facebook post Monday, USA Today reported. "Yesterday was tough. Today she is more stable, but this is definitely a large setback."

In aspiration pneumonia, the lungs or airways leading to the lungs are inflamed as a result of breathing in foreign material, such as food and saliva. Treatments include antibiotics.

The Pennsylvania girl had a lung transplant on June 12 but it failed and she had to have a second transplant on June 15. She took a few breaths on her own after the second transplant, but was put back on the ventilator because she had partial paralysis of the diaphragm, a complication of the second surgery, USA Today reported.

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Teresa Heinz Kerry's Condition Upgraded to Fair

The condition of Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, has been changed from critical to fair.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital upgraded her condition after 74-year-old Heinz Kerry underwent further evaluation Monday morning, according to Glen Johnson, a spokesman for her husband. He added that Kerry and other family members are with her at the hospital, the Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, Heinz Kerry was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Nantucket, where she and her husband have a home. Later that day, she was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Heinz Kerry was taken to hospital after she showed symptoms consistent with a seizure, according to a person in close contact with the family, the AP reported.

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.


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