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Health & medicine in brief

Surgeons separate twin baby girls

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 12, 2003

LOS ANGELES - Two baby girls, born joined from the abdomen to the hip, were successfully separated Thursday, doctors said.

Surgeons at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles began the nearly 24-hour operation Wednesday morning.

The 9-month-old girls were recovering in an intensive care unit, and the hospital did not release further details on their conditions.

The identical twins were each born with one normally developed leg, and they shared a conjoined leg. Doctors used that leg to replace tissue and bone in the girls' pelvic regions.

Doctors declined to identify the babies or their parents, citing the family's request for privacy.

The girls were born with a third sister, their fraternal triplet. It is the second known instance of conjoined twins born as part of a triplet set, the hospital said.

Smoking kills equally in rich, poor nations

LONDON - The global death toll from smoking is shifting dramatically, with about as many people now dying from smoking in the developing world as in industrialized nations, according to the most thorough estimate to date.

The research, published this week in the Lancet medical journal, concludes that 4.84-million people died from smoking worldwide in 2000 - 2.41-million in developing countries and 2.43-million in rich nations.

The new estimates, researched by Alan Lopez at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and Majid Ezzati of the Harvard School of Public Health, used findings from recent studies to build a global picture.

There are about 1-billion smokers worldwide.

Marine malaria cases up

WASHINGTON - The number of malaria cases among U.S. Marines and those serving with them in Liberia rose again Thursday, with 51 showing symptoms of the illness, defense officials said.

Five new patients were identified with mild cases and were treated aboard the USS Iwo Jima.

Navy doctors are investigating what they say is an unusually high rate of the illness among service members who were in Liberia.
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