Health Highlights: Dec. 19, 2017
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Embryo Frozen for 25 Years Results in Successful Birth
A healthy baby girl born last month in Tennessee was a frozen embryo for 25 years, making her the longest known frozen human embryo to result in a successful birth.
The previous known record was 20 years, CNN reported.
Emma Wren Gibson was born November 25 to parents Tina and Benjamin Gibson. As an embryo, she was was frozen on Oct. 14, 1992 and thawed March 13 at the National Embryo Donation Center. She was conceived the year after her mother, Tina, was born.
"Do you realize I'm only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends," Tina said when told the age of the embryo when she received it, CNN reported.
Emma was 6 pounds 8 ounces at birth and 20 inches long.
"I just wanted a baby. I don't care if it's a world record or not," Tina, now 26, told CNN.
Benjamin is infertile due to cystic fibrosis.
Emma and four sibling embryos came from the same egg donor and were created for in vitro fertilization by another, anonymous couple. These "snowbabies" remained in frozen suspension until they could be use by people unable or unwilling to conceive a child naturally.
Emma's birth is "pretty exciting considering how long the embryos had been frozen," Carol Sommerfelt, embryology lab director at the National Embryo Donation Center, told CNN.
While she's the longest known frozen embryo to result in a successful birth, it can't be confirmed whether Emma represents a new record.
"Identifying the oldest known embryo is simply an impossibility," Dr. Zaher Merhi, director of IVF research and development at New Hope Fertility Center, told CNN. He was not involved in Emma's case.
U.S. companies do not have to report to the government the age of an embryo used, only the outcome of the pregnancy, so "nobody has these records," Merhi explained.
Other experts cited a case study of a 20-year-old frozen embryo that resulted in a successful birth, CNN reported.
Salmonella Infection Linked to Rattlesnake Pills: CDC
A case of salmonella infection has been linked to rattlesnake pills, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The pills -- made from dehydrated, powdered rattlesnake meat -- are marketed for various conditions, including cancer and HIV infection.
In this case, a person in Kansas became ill with salmonella a week after taking rattlesnake pills. Tests showed that the salmonella that caused the person's illness was the same as that found in rattlesnake pills from Mexico that were collected in a previous, unrelated investigation, according to the CDC.
If you're considering taking rattlesnake pills, talk to your health care provider first, the agency advised.
This is especially important for people who are more likely to get severe salmonella infections, including pregnant women, children younger than 5 years, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems, including those who are receiving chemotherapy or have HIV.