February 8, 2013

"It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person."

"We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals. As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain."

29 comments:

chickelit said...

When a heavy atom splits into lighter ones, the "daughter" atoms have isotopic signatures which reveal parentage.

Beta Rube said...

Does this suggest a cellular level reversal of the Althouse Gender Rule?

Bryan C said...

"Since Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, they suspected that the number of fetal cells would be greater in women with AD compared to those who had no evidence for neurological disease. The results were precisely the opposite: there were fewer fetal-derived cells in women with Alzheimer’s. The reasons are unclear."

So women who've had multiple abortions are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer's. Interesting.

Lem said...

In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades.

The justification for an Obama drone attack are getting smaller and smaller.

mishu said...

In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades.

Amanda Marcotte is now in a frozen state of panic.

rhhardin said...

Science has gone downhill since Mr Wizard.

Nobody just makes battery acid anymore.

ErnieG said...

"This condition is called chimerism after the fire-breathing Chimera from Greek mythology, a creature that was part serpent part lion and part goat. Naturally occurring chimeras are far less ominous though..."

What about ManBearPig?

EDH said...

I've got you... under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart, so that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

SO THAT'S where the expression "ef' your brains out" came from.


I know. That's bad. Sorry. Just couldn't help it.

ErnieG said...

This effect might not be confined to women. If a man receives a blood transfusion from a woman with fetal microchimeric cells in her bloodstream, some of these cells might wind up in his system. I imagine that since these cells' DNA would be incompatible with his, they might trigger an immune response and be wiped out.

Ann Althouse said...

I found this spooky... the idea that cells belonging to my sons are living in my brain. It's my brain. How can it be composed of something other than my cells, based on my having gone through pregnancies 30 years ago?

Inga said...

Strange, I developed an autoimmune disorder after the birth of my youngest, my son. I wonder if a male chimeric cell would cause more of an immune response than female.

cubanbob said...

I found this spooky... the idea that cells belonging to my sons are living in my brain. It's my brain. How can it be composed of something other than my cells, based on my having gone through pregnancies 30 years ago?

Works the other way around as well. Maternal cells can and often do cross over in to the fetus. Your son might have some of your cells in his brain. Possibly even some of your mother's cells as well.

edutcher said...

Well, they've found dead twins in the brains of people ("I know I have a twin somewhere"; "Yes, and we kept the evil one"), so it shouldn't be that improbable.

Ann Althouse said...

I found this spooky... the idea that cells belonging to my sons are living in my brain. It's my brain. How can it be composed of something other than my cells, based on my having gone through pregnancies 30 years ago?

Hmmm, I wonder if parents' cells could also be up there.

Scott M said...

Have there ever been any long-term studies comparing the health of women who have children versus those who don't?

edutcher said...

Women who have kids, especially those who wet-nurse theirs, have lower breast and other types of cancer.

Kind of like guys who have regular sex have fewer prostate problems.

bagoh20 said...

I have four pounds of a woman I never met, nor know anything about, living as my liver and keeping me alive. After 6 years, I'm still blown away by that every time I think of it. I wonder how much of her has migrated to my brain. Will she take over? I hope so. I'd like some time off.

Lem said...

I found this spooky... the idea that cells belonging to my sons are living in my brain. It's my brain. How can it be composed of something other than my cells, based on my having gone through pregnancies 30 years ago?

Think of it as a perpetuity clause you cant get out of.

Crimso said...

"It's my brain."

No it's not. The 2nd law of thermodynamics is merely letting you borrow it for a while.

Lem said...

... male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades.

Apparently these 'male cells' like to be on top.

Clyde said...

In some primitive cultures in Papua New Guinea, ritual cannibalism and eating the corpses of the dead was done in order to absorb the traits of the deceased. The problem with this, of course, was that it also spread "laughing sickness" (kuru). Scientists found that when the ritual cannibalism stopped, so did the incidents of the disease.

David said...

This may explain Titus.

Jose_K said...

, ritual cannibalism? only women and children ate human meat among them. The scarce animal meat was reserved for men.
Among Yanomamis it is still the same

Joan said...

Inga, my system went haywire with several autoimmune conditions after the birth of my third child. The timing makes the onset of all those problems unlikely to be coincidence.

Kinda of sucks that I'm still dealing with all that 12 years later, but I wouldn't trade my kids' existence for slightly improved health. My life expectancy is not affected, just my quality of day-to-day life.

Nichevo said...

So, swallowing prevents Alzheimer's. Let that be a lesson to you, ladies.

Nichevo said...

perhaps this is what Digital Underground meant when they talked about girls who give good brain

kentuckyliz said...

Swallowing your hub's baby gravy and ingesting it lets your body adjust and develop your immune system not to reject it, and it can reduce incidence of miscarriage as a result.

Know a couple having trouble keeping a pregnancy going? Tell her to swallow.

kentuckyliz said...

How much exposure is required for a man to earn a spot in my brain?

One hopes it takes some sustained exposure. Would not like to think of some of my favorite mistakes taking up residence.

Don't you think that males who absorb baby gravy are changed by it?

Just asserting that to be inclusive.

Nichevo said...

Liz, I'm free if you want to experiment. I know you worship the scientific method.