Human Development

Pregnancy & Human Development (update 12/2011)

Fetal Cells Cross Placenta, Stay With Pregnant Mom for Life / Mothers Retain Fetal Cells with Healing Properties

Sharing a Smile Can Synchronize Mom’s and Baby’s Heartbeart: Study

Study Reveals How Pregnancy May Help Fight Heart Disease

Unborn Children Heal Themselves in First Days of Life

New Technology Allows Parents to Hold Life-Size Model of Their Unborn Child

Paxil and Pregnancy (possible adverse effect link)

Unborn Child's Memory Develops by 30 Weeks in the Womb: New Research…

 

Fetal Cells Cross Placenta, Stay With Pregnant Mom for Life

“You will always be a part of me,” might be a mother’s teary farewell when her child goes off to college, but research is showing it’s quite literally true.

Kathy Ostrowski reports in the Kansans for Life blog on a recent National Public Radio Morning Edition program featuring Science editor Robert Krulwich and his explosive report about “fetomaternal microchimerism.”

According to Krulwich there is increasing evidence that “when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or daughter, [but] an army of protective cells – gifts from her children that will stay inside her and defend her for the rest of her life.”

Some interesting points and quotes from the segment:

    “In a teaspoon of an ordinary pregnant woman’s blood… [are] dozens, perhaps even hundreds of cells… from the baby,” according to a Tufts University researcher. Lab studies done “over and over and over and over” of mother mice with diseases (ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers) show that fetal cells rush to the places where they’re needed in the mom.

    “The cells of an unborn child will stay in the mother for decades… essentially forever,” said a researcher from Thomas Jefferson University. “There’s a lot of evidence now starting to come out that these cells may actually be repairing tissue.”

   A study involving a Boston woman with hepatitis (and a history of five pregnancies) found hundreds of fetal cells at work “repairing” her liver.

In a culture where children are too often seen as a threat to self, here’s an argument that might reach even the hardest heart.
[LifeNews.com Note: Cathy Ruse is senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council, a national pro-family group that focuses on pro-life issues and opposes abortion. Cathy Ruse | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 12/9/11,  http://www.lifenews.com/2011/12/09/fetal-cells-cross-placenta-stay-with-pregnant-mom-for-life/]

Science: Mothers Retain Fetal Cells with Healing Properties

Pro-lifers hearing National Public Radio’s Morning Edition Monday had to be smiling when Science editor, Robert Krulwich, revealed a little-known bond between a mother and her child.

The report examined the increasing evidence that “when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or daughter, [but] an army of protective cells– gifts from her children that will stay inside her and defend her for the rest of her life.”

Krulwich begins his interview with Dr. Kirby Johnson, of Tufts University, doing a little myth-busting about the placenta, formerly considered “an impenetrable barrier [in which the] mommy cells stay on the mommy side and nature keeps them separate.”

Rather, Johnson discusses how researchers found, “in a teaspoon of an ordinary pregnant woman’s blood… dozens, perhaps even hundreds of cells… from the baby.” (The scientific name for the phenomenon is fetomaternal microchimerism.)
Researchers were surprised that the ‘baby’ cells aren’t attacked by the ‘mom’s’ immunity system.  The natural references throughout the NPR interview to the unborn child as a baby, and to the pregnant female as mom, are refreshing.

Chiming in was Carol Artlett, a researcher at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University, “even if a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, even if there is no baby, the cells of an unborn child will stay in the mother for decades… essentially forever.”

But it’s what these cells do that is remarkable. “There’s a lot of evidence now starting to come out that these cells may actually be repairing tissue,” according to Artlett.
One case study the interview discusses concerns a Boston woman with hepatitis, with a maternal history of five pregnancies, including one living child, two miscarriages and two abortions.  Her liver biopsy showed not just a few stray fetal cells, but hundreds at work ‘repairing’ her liver. Months later, she was found completely healthy, with no signs of further liver damage!

Krulwich interjects the possible alternate hypothesis–that fetal cells can harm the mother–but Johnson responds, “I can’t recall a single study that’s been truly reproduced to verify the bad fetal cell hypothesis.”

What is actually happening is that lab studies of mother mice with disease (ovarian, endometrial and cervical cancers) done “over and over and over and over” (in Johnson’s words), show that fetal cells rush to the places where they’re needed in the mom.
Wow!  Heady stuff that there is an inseparable, healthy, and providential maternal-infant bond at the most basic biological level.

[Dec. 5, 2011, Kathy Ostrowski, KFL Legislative Director, www.kansansforlife.wordpress.com]

 

 

Sharing a Smile Can Synchronize Mom’s and Baby’s Heartbeart: Study

According to a study published this month, mothers can synchronize with their babies’ heartbeats just by smiling at them, i09.com reports.

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel monitored the “cardiac output” of women and their three-month-old infants during face-to-face interactions.

Their report, published in the scientific journal Infant Behavior and Development revealed that affectionate face-to-face interaction caused the heart rhythm of mother and baby to coordinate “within lags of less than one second.”

The researchers noted: “The concordance between maternal and infant biological rhythms increased significantly during episodes of affect and vocal synchrony compared to non-synchronous moments. Humans, like other mammals, can impact the physiologica

l processes of the attachment partner through the coordination of visuo-affective social signals.”

The results lend further credibility to previous work by one of the Bar-Ilan researchers, Ruth Feldman, who has demonstrated the importance of “synchrony,” the attunement between parent and child demonstrated during affectionate interactions, in multiple studies.

A 2007 study published by Feldman correlated mother-infant synchrony to the development of a child’s sense of morality. She found that the degree of synchrony during infancy was a predictor for a child’s moral cognition and capacity for empathy in later years.

Feldman has also studied father-child synchrony, comparing and contrasting it with mother-infant synchrony in a 2003 study. She concluded that “both fathers and mothers are equally capable of engaging in second-by-second synchrony with their infant.”

However, her report found that each parent offers “different experiences,” and pointed to evidence that healthy child development requires the presence of two different-gendered parents.  
[Christine Dhanagom, Dec 08, 2011, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sharing-a-smile-can-synchronize-moms-and-babys-heartbeart-study?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=92bc3740d4-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines12_07_2011&utm_medium=email]

Study Reveals How Pregnancy May Help Fight Heart Disease

From the Gawker science blog io9 comes a particularly cool revelation about pregnancy that might seem apolitical at first glance, but holds powerful implications…

    Researchers have known for some time that women who experience weakened heart function in the months before and after childbirth (a condition known as peripartum cardiomyopathy) recover more quickly than any other group of heart failure patients. Now, a team of researchers from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine thinks it may know why.

    The researchers have demonstrated that when a pregnant mouse suffers from a heart attack, her fetus will actually donate cells that can migrate to mom’s heart before differentiating into different types of cardiac cells, aiding in the heart’s regenerative processes.

…[T]he Sinai study demonstrates that the relationship between mother and unborn child can be more than just “mutually supportive.”

Many mothers will discuss the intangible benefits of their pregnancy—joy, purpose, fulfillment, etc.—but if the study is correct, the mother also gets something much more quantifiable out of the deal: babies have the potential to actually heal their mothers, perhaps even save their lives, from within the womb. … How long will it be before we discover even more astounding ways that babies’ stem cells help their mothers?

Those looking for new biological terminology to describe pregnancy [could use] “symbiotic”: two organisms living together for mutual benefit…

[Calvin Freiburger | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 12/16/11, LifeNews.com Note:  Calvin Freiburger is a Live Action contributing writer. This column appeared at the Live Action blog and is reprinted with permission; http://www.lifenews.com/2011/12/16/study-reveals-how-pregnancy-can-help-fight-heart-disease/]

 

 

 

 

Unborn Children Heal Themselves in First Days of Life

A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the “European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology” shows that in the first five days of his existence, the tiniest of human beings has the capacity to heal himself of genetic abnormalities .

From the story:

    Professor William G. Kearns told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that a three-day-old embryo (called a cleavage stage embryo) with an incorrect number of chromosomes (known as “aneuploidy”) was capable of undergoing “a dynamic process of genetic normalisation” so that by day five, when it had developed to the blastocyst stage, it had become euploid, with the correct number of chromosomes.

This is an amazing process of healing directed by the embryo himself.  Scientists are now engaging in research to determine how the embryo corrects the genetic problems. 

This is a significant finding because it points to another way in which the early human being develops as do all human beings, towards maturity of body. 

For other examples see Maureen Condic’s White Paper, When Does Human Life Begin?: A Scientific Perspective.  In the paper she explains that one of the very first acts of the human being in a zygotic stage (one cell) is to protect himself from other sperm by changing the outer layer of the cell.  One cannot help but marvel how the young human being protects and heals himself even in the earliest moments of his existence.

This study also has significant implications for the practice of in vitro fertilization which often involves “Preimplantation diagnosis.” 

Again, from the story:

    Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) refers to the removal of a cell from a developing embryo and evaluating this cell for all chromosome abnormalities. If the results of this screening show that the embryo is normal, then either it undergoes uterine transfer or is frozen for future use. In cases where PGS evaluation yields a biopsied cell that is chromosomally abnormal, standard practice is to discard the corresponding embryo. (Emphasis added)

The normal practice is to “discard” human beings that are shown to have genetic flaws.  This practice is immoral, as every human being must be treated with the dignity and respect due to every member of the human species, created as imago dei.   The document Dignitas Personae identifies this practice as “an act of abortion” which is “shameful” and “utterly reprehensible” (n.22). But this study also reveals that often the practice of discarding such embryos, even for the immoral stated reason, is unnecessary as 64% were completely healed.

    In addition, if a day-three embryo was found to be aneuploid, then these findings suggest that it would be worth waiting and testing the trophectoderm at day five before making the final decision about whether to implant the embryo or discard it.

Finally, one should note two significant problems with this entire study.  First is that in vitro fertilization is itself morally problematic because it offends the legitimate rights of the child and because it offends the relationship between husband and wife by separating procreation from the marital act.  Second, the way this study was conducted is problematic because (among other reasons) the researchers “dissected the entire embryo,” killing it in the process.

As Dignitas Personae states, “In reality, it is deeply disturbing that research in this area aims principally at obtaining better results in terms of the percentage of babies born to women who begin the process, but does not manifest a concrete interest in the right to life of each individual embryo” (n.14).

LifeNews.com Note: Arland K. Nichols is National Director of HLI America, Human Life International’s educational initiative in the United States. Article originally published
at HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum.
[Arland Nichols | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/8/11, http://www.lifenews.com/2011/07/08/unborn-children-heal-themselves-in-first-days-of-life/]

 

 

 

 

New Technology Allows Parents to Hold Life-Size Model of Their Unborn Child
Stunning new technology is allowing parents to go beyond a 3D or 4D ultrasound to bond with their unborn child in ways never imaginable. A student at the Royal College of Art in Britain has created life-like models based on pictures of unborn children that are the exact shape and size of the baby in the womb.

Fetal models have long been a staple of county fairs and health education classes across the country, but one student has gone further.

Brazilian student Jorge Lopes is a PhD. student at the college and he has pioneered the use of converting data from ultrasounds and MRI scans to form life-size plastic models in a process called rapid prototyping.

"It’s amazing to see the faces of the mothers. They can see the full scale of their baby, really understand the size of it," Lopes told the London Daily Mail newspaper.

One way to conceive of the idea behind the new process is to imagine a printer that relies on plastic powder instead of the ink that normally goes on a sheet of paper. As the plastic build up, it creates a 3D model instead of a flat image on paper.

Aine Duffy from the RCA added, "It's stunning technology – here at the RCA we use it for everything from new medical devices, to car components, to jewelry, to architectural models."

Lopes' work is slated to appear at an exhibition opening in London today.

The process is drawing positive comments from Dr. Staurt Campbell, who pioneered ultrasound imaging in Britain in the 1980s.

"I don't know whether I am looking at science or I am looking at art," he said, calling the process "absolutely unique" and "a fantastic development."
 [June 29, 2009, London, England, www.LifeNews.com, http://www.lifenews.com/int1249.html ]

 

 

 

 

Warning: Paxil and Pregnancy (possible link)
Side effects for paxil babies include, but are not limited to:

Congential Heart Defects
Lung Birth Defects
Craniosynostosis
Abdominal Birth Defects
Tetralogy of Fallot
Heart Birth Defects
other birth defects while the child was exposed to paxil
Facts:
Paxil, which has the chemical name is paroxetine, is a widely prescribed antidepressant that has been used by millions of women for the treatment of general depression and anxiety disorders. After a series of studies were published showing that Paxil increased the risks of the development of congenital heart defects among newborns who were exposed during pregnancy, the FDA reclassified Paxil as a Pregnancy Category "D" drug.
Category "D" is used when "there is positive evidence of human fetal risk".

No other SSRI or antidepressant in the same class carries such a warning.

Unborn Child's Memory Develops by 30 Weeks in the Womb: New Research
30-week-old babies in the womb already have short-term memory capabilities, a new study from the Netherlands, published in the July/August 2009 issue of the journal Child Development, has found.

Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Centre and the University Medical Centre St. Radboud examined 93 healthy pregnant Dutch women and their unborn children, measuring changes in how the child responds to repeated stimulation. The children were tested at 30, 32, 34, and 36 weeks, and again at 38 weeks gestation. 

The study showed that the unborn children would initially respond to a "vibroacoustic" stimulus. The stimulus would then be repeated every 30 seconds until "habituation" occured, and the children no longer reacted, evidently accepting the sound as safe. Ultrasonography showed that in a second session ten minutes after the first, the children apparently "remembered" the stimulus and the number of stimuli needed for habituation grew much smaller.

The scientists found that at thirty weeks, the child in the womb has a short-term memory of about ten minutes. At 34 weeks, the child can store information and retrieve it up to four weeks later. The younger children who had been tested at 34 and 36 weeks were later able to habituate much faster than children at 38 weeks who had never been tested.
 
"This is the next step into a better insight in the development of the foetal central nervous system," said study co-author Dr. Jan G. Nijhuis, director of the Centre for Genetics, Reproduction and Child Health at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. "We aim to develop an 'intra-uterine neurologic examination,' which could then be used in foetuses at risk."
[16July2009, Hilary White, www.LifeSiteNews.com]