Mothers aren't just emotionally connected to their sons. A new study shows how genetic material can be passed on from fetuses during pregnancy, travelinging through the human blood-brain barrier and settling in--and it might be relatively normal, too.
Researchers took brain autopsies from 59 women between the ages of 32 and 101; a full 63 percent had the genetic material inside (the oldest woman found with an example of it was 94). The condition is known as a type of microchimerism, and it might've stayed with the women from their pregnancy, all the way until they died.
That's a small sample, so it's tough to draw direct conclusions on the health effects--positive or negative--that are related to it. Thirty-three women in the sample had Alzheimer's; the other 26 were neurological-disease-free. But that doesn't mean we're completely in the dark about microchimerism. From a statement on the study:
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.