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Sons' DNA Found in Moms' Brains Long After Pregnancy

There’s nothing quite like the mother-son bond. Well, now a new study suggests the lifelong connection between a mother and son is quite literal.

It turns out a son’s DNA can linger in his mother… forever. In fact, this could be the norm. And, according to this emerging research, this lingering genetic matter might help reduce the chances of mom getting Alzheimers.

Researchers at the Hutchenson Cancer Research Center conducted brain autopsies on 59 women between the ages of 32 and 101 and found that 63% revealed male genetic material inside. The thought is that it’s the son’s DNA that has stayed with her since pregnancy. Since it’s a small sample, more research needs to be done to draw any conclusions or understand how this genetic material affects mothers. Apparently this is known as a microchimerism, and we know a little about these. From the researcher’s statement:

“…other Hutchinson Center studies of male microchimerism in women have found it to impact a woman’s risk of developing some types of cancer and autoimmune disease. In some conditions, such as breast cancer, cells of fetal origin are thought to confer protection; in others, such as colon cancer, they have been associated with increased risk. Hutchinson Center studies also have linked lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis to women who previously had given birth at least once as compared to nulliparous women.”
I think this is fascinating. Earlier this year I wrote about the impact fetal cells can have on mom’s health. It’s theorized that fetal cells can actually do reparative work on some of mom’s organs, her liver for example. It’ll be very interesting to see what research reveals about how gestating a baby is not something that ends with delivery.

 

ON BABBLE:

Ceridwen Morris (CCE) is a childbirth educator and the co-author of the pregnancy and birth guide From The Hips. Follow her blogging on Facebook.

 

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