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First brain surgery on baby in womb a success

First brain surgery on baby in womb a success
May 8 2023 Share

Doctors have just performed a first-of-its-kind brain surgery on a baby still inside the womb in order to fix deadly damage to blood vessels and thus potentially eliminate heart failure or stroke in the future. 

This was the first treated patient in a clinical trial that is underway at Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, along with the oversight of the US FDA. 

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A rare pre-natal condition known as Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM) causes foetuses to have arteries which carry high-pressure blood whilst connected to one of the main veins deep at the base of the brain. 

The US team utilised ultrasound to carry out the procedure, with the baby currently still in the womb of a 34 week old pregnant woman. 

The child was delivered two days later during a normal birth after her labour was induced, due to broken membrane. Following a period of neonatal intensive care, the baby was taken home by the mother. 

“In our first treated case, we were thrilled to see that the aggressive decline usually seen after birth simply did not appear,” said lead author Professor Darren Orbach of Boston Children’s Hospital.

Experts are describing the outcome as pioneering as this could lead to future developments that could save hundreds of newborns. 

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More Qalet Marku reports as group burn plastics in natural area

More Qalet Marku reports as group burn plastics in natural area
May 8 2023 Share

The Malta Ranger Unit once again took to social media to report the latest hazard in Qalet Marku, this time spotting individuals burning waste in the area. 

‘A group was about to pack up when they decided to clean up the area’ the unit explained. ‘The only issue was that instead of disposing the plastics and other trash in the bag they had on site, they proceeded to burn said items’. 

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The adults on site reportedly instructed minors to put in plastics into the fire and then sat next to the fire inhaling the fumes. 

‘The burning of plastics releases toxic gases like dioxins, furans, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (better known as BCPs) into the atmosphere, and poses a threat to vegetation, and human and animal health!’

Reports are to be filed with the Environmental Protection Unit Police so that the accused will be held accountable. 

‘The only way to enjoy nature is to keep it clean; land, water AND air. Leave no trace. Bring the trash with you and dispose as per law (separate). Do not teach your children that burning waste is acceptable!’ 

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New Dar Bjorn reunites separated brothers to live together

New Dar Bjorn reunites separated brothers to live together
May 8 2023 Share

Bjorn Formosa took to social media to express his gratitude over the fact that the newly inaugurated Dar Bjorn in Żebbuġ will be reuniting two brothers to live under the same roof again. 

Bjorn explained how Chris and Andrew both suffer from the same neurological genetic disease. They had to be separated earlier in life, but will now be sharing a room in the new home for those suffering with similar conditions. 

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Both Andrew and Chris suffer from a disorder on the Zellweger spectrum. The disorder affects everything from nerves to metabolism and is diagnosed at birth. 

The second Dar Bjorn home is set to welcome around 30 patients, Bjorn explained on a separate social media post. This, along with the 13 other patients in Dar Bjorn Qormi. 

Dar Bjorn 2 was inaugurated last Friday in the presence of both Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition leader Bernard Grech.

It is the second home which NGO ALS Malta will have opened in Malta. Chris, Andrew and the other patients will have access to everything from a therapy pool, a garden and various other amenities to help them live a more independent and humane life. 

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Employee shortage biggest issue small businesses facing

Employee shortage biggest issue small businesses facing
May 8 2023 Share

According to a newly released survey of 415 businesses, commissioned by the Chamber for Small and Medium Businesses, employee shortage and rising inflation are the two main concerns being faced by small and medium businesses. 

Employee shortage registered the highest score in terms of concern, followed by increase in inflation and then issues with late payments, unfair competition and skills mismatch respectively. 

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The lowest concerns were the weakening of the euro and environmental compliance, followed by an access to supplies. 

Meanwhile, when asked which two biggest issues the country is facing and the businesses would wish the government address, respondents replied with ‘increase in inflation’, followed by lack of good governance. 

65% of businesses thought that Malta needs to rethink the direction it is heading, with 35% thinking Malta is moving in the right direction. 

In terms of size, 56% registered 1 to 9 employees, followed by 29% with 10 to 49 employees. This was followed by 13.5% at 50 to 249 employees and 1.5% for 249+. 

53% off businesses are in the retail, import, distribution and wholesale line of business, followed by manufacturing, construction, machinery and production at 17%. 

Professional services followed in third place at 15%, whereas education, training & schools came last at just 5%.

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