A newly-tested artificial womb could change the way doctors care for babies born prematurely, according to new research.
The lambs involved in the study lived inside the device — which uses a container filled with liquid — for about four weeks, breathing amniotic fluid inside of a temperature-controlled environment.
While video footage of the lamb within the artificial womb may look startling at first, the device could one day be a “bridge between the mother’s womb and the outside world,” said Dr. Alan Flake, co-author of the study, in a statement.
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“If we can develop an extra-uterine system to support growth and organ maturation for only a few weeks, we can dramatically improve outcomes for extremely premature babies,” Flake, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, added.
“We’ve been extremely successful in replacing the conditions in the womb in our lamb model,” says Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“They’ve had normal growth. They’ve had normal lung maturation. They’ve had normal brain maturation. They’ve had normal development in every way that we can measure it,” Flake says.
This study wasn’t designed to replace a mother’s natural womb, but the invention could one day help keep premature infants off ventilators and out of incubators when they are born.
Modern medicine continues to be truly amazing!
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