How a pa­tient’s ‘crazy’ re­quest for a new womb made history

Jamaica Gleaner - - FLAIRBEAUTY / FLAIRHEALTH -

DIY JO is here to take care of you from root to sole. Not a der­ma­tol­o­gist or doc­tor, but hav­ing eczema and acne, plus a love for my hair, through trial and er­ror, I have found some tried and proven meth­ods and all-nat­u­ral con­coc­tions that work won­ders for me. And what is a sis­ter­hood if not shar­ing right?

This week I tackle the scalp. As I said, I have eczema, so my scalp flak­ing has al­ways been a prob­lem. As a child, my poor mother tried ev­ery­thing. The only thing that of­fered some tem­po­rary re­lief was aloe vera, which she would rub all over my scalp.

The stress dur­ing univer­sity cre­ated havoc on my hair and it started to break, and I shed like a snake (large clumps that you could just peel off my scalp). Some­thing had to be done.

I started do­ing re­search and re­alised that any­thing with mineral oil was an ab­so­lute no-no for my nat­u­ral tresses. Wash­ing my hair with hot wa­ter was also caus­ing more harm than good be­cause it fur­ther dried out my scalp. Hair oils with pe­tro­leum jelly did not work for me ei­ther, and elim­i­nat­ing it from my regime was a life changer.

So what did I use? I started see­ing coconut oil, this and Ja­maican black cas­tor oil. I must ad­mit that at first I was not en­thused to try ei­ther. I like my hair smelling like flow­ers, not fried dumplings, and we all know what cas­tor oil smells like. Even so, the two did not fully work on their own. Then I dis­cov­ered tea tree oil, and again I must say not the best of aro­mas as it smelt like some­thing to clear the si­nuses, but thank­fully, the smell does not linger for very long.

When I mixed the three and used it on my scalp ev­ery other day, I saw a re­mark­able dif­fer­ence. I also tried the mix­ture as a hot oil treat­ment, which also works very well. And if you are like me and not very dis­ci­plined when it comes to a hair reg­i­men, when you do the hot oil treat­ment, you can just oil the scalp twice a week with the mix­ture and you are good to go.

When mix­ing, you can use equal amounts of cas­tor and coconut oils. Only a few drops of tea tree oil is needed; it will give you a slight tin­gle.

If us­ing as a hot oil treat­ment, ap­ply the mix­ture to your scalp only, or re­place the tea tree oil with ar­gan oil and ap­ply to your strands as well. Tea tree oil does not work well with ev­ery­one’s strands, mine in­cluded, so I rec­om­mend ap­ply­ing it only to your scalp. STOCK­HOLM (AP): WHEN THE young Aus­tralian cer­vi­cal can­cer pa­tient learned she had to lose her womb in or­der to sur­vive, she pro­posed some­thing au­da­cious to the doc­tor who was treat­ing her – she asked if she could have a womb trans­plant, so she could one day carry her own baby.

This was nearly two decades ago, when the Swedish doc­tor Mats Brannstrom was train­ing to be a physi­cian abroad.

“I thought she was a bit crazy,” Brannstrom said.

But Brannstom didn’t dis­miss her idea. In­stead, after he re­turned to Swe­den he be­gan a se­ries of painstak­ing re­search projects to learn whether it might be pos­si­ble to trans­plant a womb, de­spite crit­i­cism that the un­heard of pro­ce­dure was dan­ger­ous, med­i­cally un­nec­es­sary, and im­pos­si­ble.

Brannstrom went on to be­come the first doc­tor to de­liver ba­bies – five so far – from women with do­nated wombs. No other doc­tor in the world has suc­ceeded, de­spite at­tempts in the United States, Saudi Ara­bia and Tur­key, and on­go­ing ef­forts in China, Bri­tain, France, the Czech Re­pub­lic and else­where.

FIRST BABY’S BIRTH

The first of Brannstom’s pa­tients’ ba­bies was born in 2014 and the fifth ar­rived in Jan­uary; an­other is due in early 2017.

Brannstrom is work­ing with doc­tors at Har­vard Med­i­cal School and the Mayo Clinic to help women beyond Swe­den get ac­cess to the pro­ce­dure. Doc­tors at Bay­lor Univer­sity in Texas, in­clud­ing two for­mer mem­bers of Brannstrom’s team, an­nounced this week they per­formed four womb trans­plants. One was suc­cess­ful, but not yet ready to at­tempt a preg­nancy.

And sci­en­tists, many of whom were both doubt­ful and crit­i­cal be­fore, now believe Brannstom’s work could help them ex­tend the use of or­gans for those who need trans­plants and learn how em­bryos im­plant in the uterus after con­cep­tion, a poorly un­der­stood but crit­i­cal stage in preg­nancy.

In 2012, he ob­tained eth­i­cal per­mis­sion to per­form womb trans­plants in nine Swedish women. He then held an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion one evening in the south­ern city of Gothen­burg, where the op­er­a­tions were to take place.

Of the nine women who had the trans­plants, two had their wombs re­moved when com­pli­ca­tions arose. Five women had healthy ba­bies and the last two are try­ing to get preg­nant.

Brannstrom be­lieves doc­tors in other coun­tries will soon de­liver more ba­bies from women with trans­planted wombs, and pre­dicts that the surgery will one day be­come rou­tine.

Emelie Eriks­son, who re­ceived a womb trans­plant and then had a baby boy in 2014, said she could never thank Brannstrom enough.

“I think I need to thank him a thou­sand times more,” she said. “He’s my hero. He made it pos­si­ble for me to have a child.”

Pure, nat­u­ral coconut oil – very help­ful in reliev­ing itchy, dry skin.

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