May 17, 2020

Babies born from frozen embryos are healthier

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fresh embryos
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3 min
Babies born from frozen embryos are 'healthier'
A study that has been carried out by the British Fertility Society has revealed that babies born from frozen embryos are healthier than those born from...

A study that has been carried out by the British Fertility Society has revealed that babies born from frozen embryos are healthier than those born from fresh embryos.

The research revealed that in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments with frozen embryos lead to longer pregnancies, meaning when the child is born it is heavier and therefore healthier.

Although they are not sure at this stage, the team behind the study believe freezing the embryos allows the uterus to recover from the IVF treatment, particularly from the drugs used during the process that stimulate the production of eggs from the ovaries.

There is also evidence to suggest that the over-use of IVF drugs and an over-stimulation of the ovaries could be another factor that results in babies having a low birth weight.

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As part of the study the researchers recorded the length of pregnancy and birth weight of 384 babies born from fresh embryos and 108 that were born from frozen embryos.

On average, they found that babies who were the result of a frozen embryo transfer weighed 253g more than those born following a fresh embryo IVF treatment.

Additionally, in the group of children that were born from frozen embryos there were fewer with a low birth weight of 2.5kg or less.

For the frozen embryo babies 3.7 percent of them weighed 2.5kg or under, compared to 10.7 percent of the fresh embryo babies.

Furthermore, the women who had undergone a frozen embryo IVF treatment enjoyed a longer pregnancy, by approximately 0.65 weeks.

“For all assisted reproduction technologies, it is important that we ensure the procedures promote optimal health in the resulting children throughout their lives,” said Suzanne Cawood, the project’s lead researcher.

“Our study suggests that babies born from frozen embryos have a significantly longer gestation period and are significantly heavier at birth compared to babies from fresh embryos.”

“This means that resulting babies may potentially be healthier if frozen embryos are transferred rather than fresh embryos,” she added.

“The reasons behind these findings are not yet fully understood, but one possibility may be that there is a difference in the uterine environment between fresh cycles, when embryos are transferred soon after the eggs have been collected, compared to frozen cycles when the uterus has not been stimulated in the days before transfer.”

There are now hopes the discovery will promote the importance and benefits of single embryo transfers.

Claire Lewis-Jones, the chief executive of Infertility Network UK, said: “These initial findings, if proved accurate following further research, will give the medical profession more evidence to encourage patients to accept single embryo transfer, which reduces the risks of multiple births to both mother and babies.

“Single embryo transfer gives the best possible outcome - a healthy singleton baby - with the chance of further frozen embryo transfers in the future.”

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

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2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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