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‘Artificial Womb’ Could Help Babies Born Prematurely

img-3027” by César Rincón licensed under CC BY 2.0

Source: NPR

Scientists created an artificial womb that mimics the environment inside of a womb, and tested the device on eight lambs that were born prematurely.

The device, which consists of a clear plastic bag filled with fluid and with attachments that feed the fetus nutrients, has been very successful, scientists say, in mimicking the nature of the womb and the lambs used to test the device experienced normal growth and brain and organ maturation.

“They’ve had normal developing in every way that we can measure,” said Alan Flake, fetal surgeon and lead of the study published in journal Nature Communications.

Scientists hope to test the device on humans within the next three years, and if the device works it could potentially help the thousands of babies born prematurely each year.

Complications that might arise include the ethical issue of testing the device on a prematurely born human, as well as the fact that many babies that born prematurely are often battling other severe health complications, such as mental retardation, paralysis, or blindness and deafness.

Read full story at: NPR

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