New research has given a better understanding of the placenta’s important role in pregnancy and brain development as Zoe Corbyn writes in Nature. The placenta was once thought of mostly as a passive organ to filter nutrients to the baby. Now the placenta is being recognized as being an active, dynamic organ contributing to the wellbeing of the developing fetus’ hypothalamus.
Research at Cambridge University, UK studied food deprived pregnant mice at mid pregnancy (a critical point of the developing hypothalamus) for a 24 hour period. The study shows that the placenta’s intelligence kicks in, providing nutrients to the fetus’ hypothalamus by breaking down it’s own tissues and recycling proteins inside its cells. This ensures protection for the proper development of the hypothalamus. The placenta’s intelligence (during the starvation period) also protected the mouse fetuses from any potential genetic damage, which would permanently effect the developing hypothalamus. Basically, the placenta’s intelligence protects the developing fetus’ brain development.
The study can not be duplicated to verify the research results in humans due to ethical reasons. Yet, the new discovery of how the placenta acts as such an important protector for brain development is exciting. And I just want to thank the mice for allowing such scientific discoveries of the placenta.
The full article is very interesting, to read click here.
In Honor of the Placenta ~
Elenya Grafals, CPM, LMT, CPES