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Current Placenta News and Events, Placenta News Articles.
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BIDMC researchers identify source of preeclampsia
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have identified a protein that leads to the development of preeclampsia, a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of pregnancy. These findings, which could help lead to the development of diagnostic tools and therapies for this baffling condition, appear in the March 2003 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2003-03-04)

Fetal death, miscarriage linked to genetic mutation
Scientists have discovered that the genetic mutation that causes the childhood cancer retinoblastoma routinely triggers fetal death and miscarriage in laboratory animals by disrupting the normal functions of the placenta, a finding that may force researchers to reevaluate the powerful Rb gene and the role it plays in causing cancer. (2003-02-26)

Microparticles cause pre-eclampsia
Vessel wall cells and blood cells have been found to release cell particles which can damage blood vessels. This was demonstrated in laboratory experiments carried out by Marja van Wijk during her doctoral research at the University of Amsterdam. Poorly functioning blood vessels play a role in pre-eclampsia. (2003-01-24)

Researchers discover how embryo attaches to the uterus
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered how an embryo initially attaches to the wall of the uterus--what appears to be one of the earliest steps needed to establish a successful pregnancy. (2003-01-16)

Scientists discover what makes human embryo attach to uterus
A UCSF-led research team has identified the first molecular step that allows a week-old human embryo to attach to the uterus. The finding is expected to provide a new tool to diagnose and treat infertility and early pregnancy loss, the scientists report. (2003-01-16)

Knocking the Sox off early mammalian development
Scientists have identified a gene that is required during early mammalian embryogenesis to maintain cellular pluripotency - the ability of an embryonic cell to develop into virtually any cell type of the adult animal. Published in G&D, this discovery that the Sox2 gene is necessary to sustain the developmental plasticity of embryonic cells sheds new light on the molecular cues that direct early embryogenesis, as well as the genetic requirements for embryonic stem cell maintenance. (2002-12-31)

UC Riverside study suggests placentas can evolve in 750,000 years or less
UC Riverside biologists, David Reznick and Mark Springer, present in the journal SCIENCE a model system for studying the evolution of complex organs. On studying guppy-like fish in the genus Poeciliopsis, they report that placentas have evolved independently three times in closely related Poeciliopsis species. They find that the shortest time interval between a poeciliid species with a placenta and its last common ancestor without one was 750,000 years. (2002-12-20)

New study pursues the impact of pregnancy on drug efficacy
Whether pregnant women with conditions ranging from ulcers to AIDS should keep taking the same doses of medicine they took before pregnancy is a question Medical College of Georgia researchers want answered. (2002-11-27)

What came first? Bigger brains or lots of sex?
Human fetuses need to invade deep into the mother's uterine wall to get enough nutrients to grow a hefty brain. But this can trigger dangerous complications like pre-eclampsia. We are also far less fertile than other mammals. Researchers now believe that we are less fertile, because the extra sex gives women a better chance of surviving the placental invasion. (2002-11-20)

UT Southwestern scientists discover link between infections in mothers and brain injuries in babies
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have unraveled a mysterious connection - a potential mechanism that links brain injuries in infants to an infection in the mother's placenta. (2002-11-12)

Regulating human X chromosomes doesn't use same gene as in mouse
A gene thought to keep a single X chromosome turned on in mice plays no such role in humans, Johns Hopkins researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics. (2002-07-31)

Mechanism that enables fetus to survive in mother under study
When the National Institutes of Health requested proposals for innovative ideas in immune system suppression from scientists who aren't immunologists, Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, biochemist, and his idea qualified. The Medical College of Georgia researcher has spent years studying the placenta and how all sorts of substances, from nutrients to street drugs, are transferred from mother to baby by this two-pound temporary organ of pregnancy. (2002-06-13)

Social insects could offer clues about genetic conflict
Two Rice University biologists believe social insects like ants and bees could provide clues to why some animals have developed a curious quality in which the genes of their parents vie in direct competition. Social insects are exceptions to the rule that relations between individuals are competitive. In an article in the April 12 issue of Science, the biologists suggest that social insects may provide exceptions to the rule that relations within individuals are harmonious. (2002-04-11)

Differences between boys and girls show less than three weeks into pregnancy
Female embryos exert a greater influence than male embryos over the hormone that nurtures early pregnancy, and the difference can be detected as little as 16 days after conception, according to new research published (Wednesday 30 January) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction. (2002-01-29)

Sharp drop in stress hormones may set stage for arthritis, multiple sclerosis after pregnancy
A sharp drop in stress hormones after giving birth to a child may predispose some women to develop certain conditions in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. (2001-10-30)

Sub-Saharan Africa's need for caesarean sections
The observed rate of cesarean section in west African women is 1-3%, conclude authors of a systematic review in this week's of The Lancet. (2001-10-18)

Deadly copper disease in infants targeted
Cells in the placenta, brain and intestine are linked to Menkes' disease in babies, researchers at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station discovered. In addition to determining the cause of a deadly disease, the findings will help researchers learn more about genes that control copper and, more specifically, render a potentially dangerous metal safe for bodily functions, according to Dr. Ed Harris, Experiment Station biochemist. (2001-10-03)

From embryo to placenta, gene transfer in primates a success
By successfully inserting a gene from a jellyfish into the fertilized eggs of rhesus monkeys, scientists have managed to make transgenic placentas, where the inserted gene functions as it does in the jellyfish. (2001-09-10)

Fatal thrombotic disease in designer mice lacking vascular thrombomodulin
The protein C pathway, which is initiated by the interaction of thrombin with the vascular surface protein thrombomodulin (TM), provides an important brake on blood clotting. Although defects in protein C, protein S, and clotting factor V, other players in this pathway, are known causes of thrombosis, the physiological role of TM in adult hemostasis has proved difficult to pin down (2001-08-15)

Umbilical cord blood transplant: effective new leukemia treatment for adults
In the first published study of its kind, researchers at the Ireland Cancer Center, University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University demonstrate successful use of umbilical cord blood transplantation in adults with leukemia and other blood disorders. (2001-06-12)

Veterinary researchers seek secret to reversing birth defects
Virginia Tech researchers have observed that maternal immune stimulation causes altered expression of critical genes in the fetus and suggest that there is routine cross-talk between fetus and mother via chemical mediators. Optimal maternal immune health may be important for protection against agents or events that lead to many birth defects. (2001-01-24)

Cloning can turn back the developmental clock
Researchers from the Whitehead Institute and the University of Hawaii provide molecular evidence for the egg's ability to reprogram an adult cell back to its embryonic state and show for the first time that X-inactivation in clones occurs in a similar manner to that in normal development. (2000-11-22)

New protein a key to cell shape and movement
A protein discovered by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill appears to play a key role in determining the shape of cells and allowing them to move. It may influence the spread of cancer, wound healing, brain development, and embryo implantation in the uterus. (2000-08-06)

Common anti-inflammatory drug rescues low-growth fetuses in mouse study
One in twenty babies are born severely underweight, resulting in significant health problems. Scientists have not well understood the low-birth weight condition, known as intrauterine growth retardation, or IUGR. Prevention and treatment have lagged accordingly. Now, researchers working with mice report completely rescuing underweight fetuses with a common anti-inflammatory drug. (2000-01-31)

A crucial protein prevents miscarriages in mice
A mother's immune system must be kept in check so that it does not attack her baby, which contains foreign genetic material. Yet no comprehensive explanation has emerged about how this process, called fetomaternal tolerance, occurs. A research team now has evidence that an immune system protein called Crry (complement receptor-related gene Y) is crucial for fetomaternal tolerance in mice. (2000-01-20)

UF study shows newborn kittens have shot at survival thanks to immune-boosting treatment
Orphaned or weak kittens, often deprived of mother's milk in their first day of life, may have a better chance at survival thanks to a simple blood transfusion. Antibodies found in the blood of normal adult cats can be transferred to kittens by injection, report researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. The process could be used to save newborn kittens of endangered cat species, such as panthers. (2000-01-03)

Big brother has a lot to answer for
Doctors in Ontario have shown that the youngest of several brothers is more likely to show random asymmetries in his body shape. The researchers believe this is a sign of troubled development in the womb. (1999-12-07)

Growth-Hormone Deficient Babies Are Normal Length At Birth, UB Study Finds
Babies born with a congenital growth hormone deficiency (CGHD) are of normal length at birth and don't begin to experience growth problems until about six months of age, research by pediatricians at the University at Buffalo has found. (1999-05-01)

Autoimmune Diseases May Be Triggered By Cells From Your Mother
Autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks its own tissues, may in some cases be triggered by cells from your mother that have been lurking within you since you were in the womb. Researchers in Seattle found maternal cells in a man suffering from an autoimmune disease. (1999-04-21)

UF Researcher Explores Complex Relationship Between Smoking And Fertility
While smoking can cause some damage that is not reversible, to stop smoking is helpful at any point during pregnancy, and women who want to get pregnant are advised to stop smoking, say researchers who determined that so-called protective effects of smoking are more mirage than reality. (1999-04-08)

Neonatology Research Leads To Better Understanding Of How Estrogen Protects Against Heart Disease
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas now have a better understanding of the protective role that estrogen plays in cardiovascular disease. (1999-02-01)

Life In Womb Determines Adult Health
Presenting the case that a lifetime of poor health -- from coronary artery disease and stroke to obesity and diabetes -- may start with poor conditions in the womb, Cornell University researcher and author Peter W. Nathanielsz, M.D., Ph.D. foresees three possible outcomes from publication of his latest book, Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease (Promethean Press, 1999). (1999-01-16)

Combined Use Of New, Non-Invasive Screening Techniques In First Trimester May Yield Earlier Evidence Of Fetal Birth Defects
First-trimester tests for two proteins in the blood of pregnant women, combined with ultrasound measurements of fetal neck skin, may provide the earliest diagnosis yet of fetal birth defects in at-risk women. This method has an estimated 90 percent detection rate of Down syndrome and is completely non-invasive. (1998-11-02)

Researchers Grow Healthy Human Placental Cells For Drug Research
Researchers at Ohio State University have become the first to grow healthy human placental cells in the laboratory. This represents a critical first step toward finding a way to test the safety of drugs that a woman can take during pregnancy without harming her fetus. (1998-09-30)

Precursors To Red Blood Cells Form Earlier Than Previously Thought
The precursors of blood cells develop in the embryos of mammals sooner than previously thought, University of Rochester researchers have discovered. The findings may help scientists better understand how blood cells form, which is essential for finding ways to expand blood stem cells for human patients needing bone marrow transplants. (1998-05-04)

NIGMS Makes First Awards For
NIGMS has awarded $2 million to support 20 grants from the first round of (1998-04-01)

Low Oxygen, Key To Fetal Development, Also Offers Cancer Clues
Oxygen levels act as a switch controlling placental development, scientists show in a paper published in the September 12 issue of the journal Science. The finding could also shed light on cancer, since both cancer and placental development involve invasion of tissue by cells. Hypoxia is important in both processes. (1997-09-11)

NICHD-Funded Researchers Find Possible Mechanism Of Preeclampsia
A team of investigators has discovered that preeclampsia--a life threatening complication of pregnancy--results from a failure of the placenta to invade the wall of the uterus and to appropriately mimic the tissue which lines blood vessels. The reasearch, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, appears in the May 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1997-04-30)

New Clues To Morning Sickness Unveiled
The same hormone that makes home pregnancy kits change color is significantly associated with and may be the cause of the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, according to Penn State researchers (1997-02-15)

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