Double Arm Transplant in Germany Considered Success

15 hours and 40 doctors later, a farmer has two new arms. The surgery replaced both limbs of a farmer who lost his arms in an accident in 2002. He lost both arms below the shoulder. From the Guardian article:

Christoph Höhnke, a surgeon on the transplant team, said that the complicated procedure was completed without any unforeseen problems. It involved a team of 40 doctors, nurses and assistants working together, attaching one arm and then the other. “The whole thing went according to script,” he said.

With a surgery as complicated as this, though, many things can go wrong. The patient can reject the transplants, although close matching of blood and other immunological factors can minimize this, along with drugs that can dampen the immune system’s reaction to foreign bodies. The bones may not completely graft together. It’s like recovering from two severely broken arms on top of everything else.

Nerve regeneration has come a long way, however. The man who received a single arm transplant in 2006 was able to write with the transplanted hand within a year.

“nerve regeneration” at Yale Image Finder.


2007 Nobel Prize winners announced

The 2007 Nobel Prize winners were announced October 8th in where but Oslo, Norway. The new science Laureates follow. Hopefully, we will get a more complete writeup of their accomplishments soon.


Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans, and Oliver Smithies for their work on knockout genes in mice using embryonic stem cells. This technique is now fundamental to genetic research, and has been used to discover genes for far too many traits and diseases to list, but include cancer, diabetes, and obesity.


Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg for their discovery of Giant Magentoresistance. This phenomenon has been used to increase the densities of magnetic storage such as hard drives by decreasing the area needed for the read head to pick up data.


Gerhard Ertl for his work on modern surface chemistry, which drives the development of fuel cells, artificial fertilizers and clean exhaust. He has provided a methodology to understand the complete picture of surface reactions.