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Friday, September 12, 2003

Smiling From the Womb
My favorite section:

Pioneering scanning techniques have produced astonishing images from inside the womb which show babies apparently smiling and crying.

Experts believe the breakthrough could lead to advances in baby health for a whole range of conditions, including Down's Syndrome.

The pictures offer a new insight into foetal behaviour.

The ultra-sound scanning techniques capture images which show the foetuses yawn, blink, suck their fingers and seem to cry and smile.

Up to now, doctors did not think infants made such expressions until after birth and believed they learned to smile by copying their mother.

The procedure has been pioneered by London obstetrician Professor Stuart Campbell at the Create Health Centre for Reproduction and Advanced Technology.

His pictures reveal foetuses moving their limbs at just eight weeks.

The new techniques, known as 3D and 4D scanning, allow for far more detailed examination of the foetus.

"There are many questions that can now be investigated," said Prof Campbell.

"Do babies with genetic problems such as Downs Syndrome have the same pattern of activity as normal babies?

"Does the foetus smile because it is happy, or cry because it has been disturbed by some event in the womb?

And do they feel betrayed by a nation that views them as nonhuman and allows them to be slaughtered by the thousands?

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