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New robot can help treat rare birth defect that affects the food pipe of babies

Scientists have created a robot, which can be implanted into a baby’s body to treat a rare birth defect that affects the food pipe. The prototype robotic implant, developed by the researchers at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital in the US, encourages tissue growth in babies. The robot is a small device which is attached to the oesophagus by two rings. An incorporated motor then stimulates the cells by gently pulling the tissue. Using two types of sensors – one to measure the tension in the tissue and…

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Epilepsy drugs may increase birth defect risk

Exposure to certain anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy may put women at higher risk of having a child with a malformation, or birth defect, says a study. The study based on systematic review of 50 published studies found that exposure in the womb to the anti-epileptic drug sodium valproate was associated with a 10 per cent chance of the child having a significant birth defect and this rose as the dose of the drug increased. The types of birth defect that were increased were skeletal and limb defects, cardiac defects,…

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