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Science

Doctors performed a groundbreaking brain surgery on a baby still inside the womb

The success of this surgery could mean many more to come.

baby brain surgery, fetal surgery, in utero surgery
Canva

The innovative procedure is performed in utero and guided by ultrasound.

Fetal surgery is undoubtedly a complicated and delicate procedure, with both physical and ethical implications. It’s rarely even an option for treatment, only being done for a select number of conditions and only for pregnant women who meet certain criteria.

And still, doctors at two Boston hospitals stepped forward to repair a malformed blood vessel in a baby girl’s brain two days before she was born, succeeding in the first ever surgery of its kind.

The baby, named Denver Coleman, suffered from vein of Galen malformation (VOGM), a rare abnormality where blood vessels connect directly to veins rather than capillaries, affecting the blood vessels’ ability to carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. The resulting surge of blood pressure can lead to major health issues like congestive heart failure, losing brain tissue or an enlarged head.

According to a statement from the American Heart Association (via Newsroom) VOGM affects an estimated 1 in 60,000 births. The current standard treatment happens after birth, where surgeons close off direct artery-to-vein connections in the brain to block the excess blood flow. However, this operation is highly risky and not always successful, not to mention that by the time the baby is born, severe brain damage might have already occurred, making it too late to prevent lifelong or even fatal damage. Conversely, the new procedure, which was detailed in the journal Stroke, uses an in-utero, ultrasound-guided utero surgery designed to reduce the aggressive blood flow

Just two days after the groundbreaking surgery was a success, Kenyatta Coleman, Denver’s mother, went into labor. What’s more, she got to go home only a few weeks later, needing no further medications or treatments. Now at six weeks, Denver is a happy, completely healthy newborn.

"I heard her cry for the first time and that just, I — I can't even put into words how I felt at that moment," Coleman told CNN. "It was just, you know, the most beautiful moment being able to hold her, gaze up on her and then hear her cry."

Denver is the first of an estimated 20 babies who will undergo this innovative new treatment as part of a clinical trial. Hopefully, she is the first of many kiddos to make a miraculous recovery.

Watch her story below:

All images provided by Kat Chao

A photo of Kat and her mom, and a bowl of her mom's famous curry

True

Whether it’s the mac n’ cheese that reminds you of simpler times, or the exotic spiced chicken recipe you acquired from your travels, every meal tells a story.

This rings especially true for people whose families immigrate to different countries to start a new life. Immigrant parents often not only save every penny, but spend most of their time away working in order to build a future for their children. Each comfort meal they manage to provide their kids in the very few spare hours they have tells the story of love and sacrifice.

For Kat Chao, that meal was her mother’s Korean curry.

korean foodA photo of baby Kat and her mom and dad

Growing up, Kat’s mom worked weekends to support her family. But that didn’t stop her from waking up Saturday morning to dice up some beef and fresh veggies and throw them into a large pot so that Kat’s dad could heat it up and serve it with some rice to her and her brothers later.

Curry was a quick, easy and inexpensive way to feed a full house, but it served more than just practical purposes. As Kat would wake up to the enticing aroma, she was reminded that her mom was always taking care of her, even if she couldn’t physically be there.

koran curryYUM

As Kat grew a little older, her attitude towards her mother’s curry shifted. Instead of looking forward to it, she would “roll her eyes at it,” as is customary of the rebellious teen. Those less-than-positive feelings were only exacerbated by the media constantly labeling carbs, therefore rice, as “bad.” As a kid who struggled with weight, her comfort food became a source of discomfort.

But as an adult, and now a mom herself, Kat has reached a full circle moment.

korean recipes, albertsonsKat, all grown up with her own familiy

As she makes her own kids the exact same curry dish (okay, maybe a leaner cut of beef, and organic veggies…but otherwise exactly the same!) Kat finds a whole new appreciation for the recipe, knowing how hard her mom worked to even make it happen.

Kat was lucky to have grown up with a meal to look forward to each night. Other kids aren’t so lucky. 1 in 8 kids currently experience food insecurity in the United States. But there’s an opportunity to decrease those numbers.

For every O Organics product you purchase, the company will donate a meal to someone in need through the Albertsons Companies Foundation—for up to a total of 28 million meals.

Is there a dish from your childhood that you’ve longed to rekindle with? You could do like Kat does and give it an O Organic twist. Luckily, the O Organics brand has a wide array of affordable ingredients, so creating healthy swaps is easier than ever. Plus, you can provide nourishment to another family at the same time.

Just think—the next meal you prepare could make all the difference to someone else. If every meal tells a story, that’s certainly a story worth telling.

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