Second face transplant for Frenchman in world-first

A man whose body rejected a face transplant he received seven years ago has been given a second donor face after living nearly two months without one. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Second face transplant for Frenchman in world-first

PARIS: A man whose body rejected a face transplant he received seven years ago has been given a second donor face after living nearly two months without one, French medical agencies said Friday.
It is the first time in transplant history that doctors have replaced one donor face with another, according to Olivier Bastien of France’s biomedicine agency.
More than 12 years since the first-ever face graft was done, in France, it remains a high-risk procedure.
A transplant can help recipients — often victims of accidents, violence, or rare genetic disorders — to resume basic tasks such as breathing, eating and speaking, and restores non-verbal communication through smiles and frowns.
But it also means a life-long reliance on immunosuppressant medicines, to stop the body rejecting the “foreign” organ. These drugs can leave a person vulnerable to infections and cancers.
It is a rare procedure with fewer than 40 operations performed to date, and at least six patients have died.
The latest recipient, in his 40s, went under the knife at a Paris hospital on Monday, for a procedure that lasted nearly a full day, according to a joint press statement issued by the biomedicine agency and the AP-HP public hospital system.
The man’s original graft had been removed in an operation on November 30, and he was kept on life support in an induced coma until the follow-up procedure.
“This graft shows for the first time... that re-transplantation is possible in the case of chronic rejection” of a donor face, said the statement.
It will be weeks before doctors can say whether the second graft has taken.
The recipient of the world’s first face transplant, Isabelle Dinoire, died of cancer in April 2016, 11 years after her groundbreaking operation.
Doctors said her body had rejected the transplant, and she had lost partial use of her lips by the time she died.


What’s next for Italy as populists take charge?

Updated 21 May 2018
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What’s next for Italy as populists take charge?

  • Italy's proposed coalition mix of far-right, anti-establishment and euro-skeptic policies.
  • Both Di Maio and Salvini insist that they want to create a coalition that can last the full five-year mandate and implement their program.

ROME: A mix of far-right, anti-establishment and euro-skeptic policies, was promised by Italy’s proposed coalition government, leading the international community to wonder what the future holds for the eurozone’s third largest economy.
Here are answers to five pressing questions as the League and Five Star Movement (M5S) prepare to take charge.
Despite outspoken criticism of the European Union from both parties, the final version of the M5S-League government program does not mention a unilateral exit from the eurozone.
M5S abandoned their idea of a referendum on the euro and while the League has called the currency “a failed economic and social experiment,” the party has proposed a series of reforms and an eventual coordinated group exit along with a number of other countries in the long term.
M5S hold more clout in the new coalition having won almost 33 percent in March’s election, compared to the League’s 17 percent, even if League leader Matteo Salvini claims to represent the 37 percent who voted for his rightwing coalition.
While Salvini is the undisputed top dog of the League, the shadow of M5S founder Beppe Grillo, an outspoken former comedian, still looms large over the party led by Luigi Di Maio.
A question mark also hangs over the fate of flamboyant former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Part of the rightwing alliance with Salvini, Berlusconi begrudgingly gave the green light for the League and M5s to make a deal without his Forza Italia party.
The aging media tycoon, however, disapproves of the new government program and, after a recent court ruling overturned a ban on him holding public office, could once again be able to exert influence from inside parliament — if a member of his party offers up their seat.
Never afraid of a long shot, Berlusconi has also offered himself up as a potential future premier.
Both Di Maio and Salvini insist that they want to create a coalition that can last the full five-year mandate and implement their program.
Their parties, however, only have a wafer-thin six vote majority in the Senate, which holds the same power as that of the Chamber of Deputies, where they have a 32-vote majority.
The two parties will have to hold onto their MPs, particularly those who view the new alliance with skepticism, in order to go the distance.
A tumultuous campaign, inconclusive elections and a prolonged period of political deadlock meant that financial markets were already nervous, especially faced with the possibility of a return to the polls.
So the prospect of a M5S-League accord was initially met with some relief — until the coalition revealed their government program.
In response to the document’s costly financial measures and euroskeptic tone, key financial indicators pointed to decreasing investor confidence in Italy.
The difference in yield between Italian and German 10-year government bonds has gained 40 points in less than a week, increasing to 170 points.
Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella has the power to veto ministers and reject any law deemed financially non-viable for the country.
He is also the guarantor of Italy’s international commitments and will keep a close eye on any move to modify the country’s role on the world stage, especially given Salvini’s scathing comments about the EU and praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.