Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending January 26, 2020. 

Samoan fruit bats are great moms

And dads. And they’re endangered. That is partially why they were chosen to depict the National Park of Samoa on the new America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin to be released next month. Read more here.

This is important for you because you didn’t know we had quarters with our National Parks on them, did you? Me neither.

In utero surgery

Spina bifida is a hole in a developing baby’s spine that can cause paraplegia and brain damage. In utero surgery can be performed to fix the problem, but it can be stressful for the fetus. New work shows that heating and humidifying the gas used to distend the uterus can make the procedure safer. Read more here.

This is important for you because as if in utero surgery isn’t amazing enough already.

Government funding

The US government doesn’t fund research on early embryos, making the first stages of development difficult to study. Since that ban was enacted in 1996, researchers have figured out how to make embryo-like structures from stem cells, rather than from eggs and sperm. But the government doesn’t fund studies of these synthetic embryos either. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is only one of the many thorny ethical issues raised by our ability to manipulate stem cells.

The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

In addition to being the lunar Year of the Rat, 2020 has also been named the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization. Read more here.

This is important for you because nurses and midwives are invaluable resources; it’s great that they are receiving recognition as such.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Battling Through Baby’s First Cold. Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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