fetal brain

MRI of the Fetal Brain

Advancements in MRI are giving us an unprecedented look at the fetal brain.

Until approximately a decade ago, what researchers knew about the developing prenatal brain came primarily from analyzing the brains of aborted or miscarried fetuses. But studying postmortem brains can be confounding because scientists can’t definitively pinpoint whether the injuries to the brain occurred before or during birth. 

Over the years, however, improvements to MRI are finally enabling researchers to study the developing brain in real time. With these advancements, researchers are just beginning to understand how normal brains develop, and how abnormalities can manifest over the course of development. Scientists cataloguing typical infant brain development with the mini-MRI hope to use it eventually to study the brains of premature babies, who have a high risk of brain damage. Ultimately, clinicians hope to intervene early with therapies, if available and approved, to prevent developmental disorders when there are signs of brain damage in utero or shortly after birth.

Read more here in Nature Medicine. 

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EPA chief Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO. Then the EPA changed course on a pesticide ban.

  • In March, Trump-appointed EPA Scott Pruitt had a private meeting with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris.
  • A few weeks later, Pruitt announced  the EPA would not continue a push to ban a common pesticide — one made and sold by Dow Chemical.
  • According to records obtained by the Associated Press, Pruitt and Liveris had a half-hour meeting at a Houston hotel on March 9.
  • Twenty days later, Pruitt announced that the EPA would not move forward on a petition to ban chlorpyrifos — a common pesticide that is widely used on produce in the United States — from being used on food.
  • Pruitt made the announcement despite the EPA’s own scientists concluding that “even minuscule amounts” of chlorpyrifos, when ingested, could interfere with fetal and infant brain development, the AP reported. Read more (6/28/17)

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When somebody says "the man determines the sex of the baby. you can't be trans because it doesn't exist. it's simple science you can't go against biology." this is what I tell them.

“You’re right, and you’re wrong. It’s actually not simple at all. On average, fertilization occurs about two weeks after your last menstrual period. When the sperm penetrates the egg, changes occur in the protein coating around it to prevent other sperm from entering. At the moment of fertilization, your baby’s genetic make-up is complete, including its sex.

If a Y sperm fertilizes the egg, your baby will be a boy; if an X sperm fertilizes the egg, your baby will be a girl. In that sense you are technically right, but gender is determined by so much more than that. We all know that a man’s brain is different to that of his female counterpart, right?” By which point the person who I’m talking to agrees. then I go on to say.

“In month 3 of Pregnancy

the baby has grown from embryo to fetus. by now the baby’s arms, hands, fingers, feet, and toes are fully formed. the baby can open and close its fists and mouth. Fingernails and toenails are beginning to develop and the external ears are formed. The beginnings of teeth are forming, and the baby’s reproductive organs are also developing, but the baby’s gender is difficult to distinguish on ultrasound, because the genitalia start out the same. Differentiation of the male and female reproductive systems does not occur until this crucial fetal period of development.

It is believed by scientists that during the intrauterine period the fetal brain develops in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. According to this concept, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation should be programmed into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the beginning of the third trimester, (The third month of pregnancy) and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no proof that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation. Data on genetic and hormone independent influence on gender identity are presently divergent and do not provide convincing information about the underlying etiology. To what extent fetal programming may determine sexual orientation is also a matter of discussion. A number of studies show patterns of sex atypical cerebral dimorphism in homosexual subjects. Although the crucial question, namely how such complex functions as sexual orientation and identity are processed in the brain remains unanswered, emerging data point at a key role of specific neuronal circuits involving the hypothalamus. So yes you are right, it is biology I’m not fighting anything other than ignorance.”


Time to sleep
  • Brain: You were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant. My touchstone.
  • Brain: Trust no one.
  • Brain: Nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted.
  • Brain: You're my one in five billion.
  • Brain: Sure, fine, whatever.
  • Brain: What if there was only one choice and all the other ones were wrong? And there were signs along the way to pay attention to.
  • Brain: The truth it out there, Mulder. But so are lies.
  • Brain: MUUUUUUULDER!
  • Brain: I want to believe.
  • Brain: Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?
  • Brain: SCULLLLLLAY!!!
  • Brain: I saw Elvis in a potato chip once.
  • Brain: Hips before hands.
  • Brain: This is a classic case of demon fetal harvest.
  • Brain: You kept me honest, you made me a whole person.
  • Brain: DENY EVERYTHING.

anonymous asked:

I'm a trans guy, 100% guy, but why don't you believe in nb? Some people can be dysphoric with being identified as female (like me) BUT ALSO be dysphoric by being identified as male.

This isn’t about being ‘identified’ as female or male, or some arbitrary feeling. This is about feeling uncomfortable with your sex characteristics.

I’m not dysphoric at being identified as a female, I’m dysphoric because I have female sexed parts when I should have male sexed parts. If I get ‘identified’ a female in public, I get dysphoric because it reminds me that I have female parts, not cause I was ‘identified’ socially as a girl.

While yes, you could argue that someone could feel uncomfortable with either set of parts, I still believe that those people who are legitimately dysphoric but say they are NB are just regular, binary trans people, who are misinterpreting their dysphoria.

TW for some sexed parts talk.

For example, if you are a trans man, sometimes your dysphoria can be more of ‘I need this vagina/female parts gone’ than ‘I need a penis’, leading to feelings of wanting no genitalia at all. This is what I call ‘agender confusion.’

In the same way, sometimes your dysphoria can be more of ‘I need a penis’ than ‘i need this vagina/female parts gone’, leading to feelings of wanting both sets of genitalia at once. This is what I call ‘bigender confusion.’

On top of that, there is no evidence in support of non-binary brains, where as the evidence we do have about transsexuals is that they have aspects and brain structures more commonly found in their identified sex, which is likely caused by cross sex hormones affecting the brain during fetal development.

THAT is why I don’t believe in NB identities.

anonymous asked:

Is it true that nonbinary brains don't exist? How is that possible and why? Since gender dysphoria was never a hoax nor prank nor joke, what makes non-binary brains not possible or at least not existing in a convenient way?

Glad you asked! (Sorry if the links do not work)

There are two brain structures, male and female:


“During the intrauterine period a testosterone surge masculinizes the fetal brain, whereas the absence of such a surge results in a feminine brain. As sexual differentiation of the brain takes place at a much later stage in development than sexual differentiation of the genitals, these two processes can be influenced independently of each other. Sex differences in cognition, gender identity (an individual’s perception of their own sexual identity), sexual orientation (heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality), and the risks of developing neuropsychiatric disorders are programmed into our brain during early development. There is no evidence that one’s postnatal social environment plays a crucial role in gender identity or sexual orientation. We discuss the relationships between structural and functional sex differences of various brain areas and the way they change along with any changes in the supply of sex hormones on the one hand and sex differences in behavior in health and disease on the other”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21334362

People fake being trans all the time, it explains most detransitioners, remember how i said most. Dysmorphia ( https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd/act-wi ) is often confused with dysphoria ( http://behavenet.com/node/21626 ) which can cause the want of a sexless body. If there ever is real, stable proof that nonbinary brains exist i will be happy to except that. But, until then, please stop calling me a transphobe.

AVOCADO ROLLS

I just wanted to say that if you eat sushi with fish, this is your sign to stop! You don’t need fish in your sushi to appreciate it!

Did you know?
• As a result of commercial fishing, 90 percent of large fish populations have been exterminated in the past 50 years.
• According to The New England Journal of Medicine, fish “are the main if not the only source of methyl mercury,” a substance that has been linked to cardiovascular disease, fetal brain damage, blindness, deafness, and problems with motor skills, language, and attention span.
• Fish have a nervous system and pain receptors like all other animals. An Australian study found that when fish are chased, confined, or otherwise threatened, they react as humans do to stress: with increased heart and breathing rates and a burst of adrenalin.

Stress-induced changes in maternal gut could negatively impact offspring for life

Prenatal exposure to a mother’s stress contributes to anxiety and cognitive problems that persist into adulthood, a phenomenon that could be explained by lasting – and potentially damaging – changes in the microbiome, according to new research in mice.

When pregnant mice were exposed to stress in the study, it appeared to change the makeup of the bacteria in both their guts and placentas, as well as in the intestinal tracts of their female offspring, researchers at The Ohio State University found. And those microbial changes lasted into adulthood.

On top of that, the mice with stressed mothers struggled in tests aimed at gauging anxiety and cognitive health compared with female offspring of mice that were not stressed during pregnancy. And markers of inflammation increased in the placenta, the fetal brain and the adult brain of the offspring while a supportive protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) decreased.

“More and more, doctors and researchers are understanding that naturally occurring bacteria are not just a silent presence in our body, but that they contribute to our health,” said Tamar Gur, the lead researcher and assistant professor of psychiatry & behavioral health, neuroscience and obstetrics & gynecology at Ohio State.

“These mice were more anxious, they spent more time in dark, closed spaces and they had a harder time learning cognitive tasks even though they were never stressed after birth.” Gur presented the study on Nov. 14 in San Diego at Neuroscience 2016, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Previous studies have found associations between maternal stress in both animals and people to later mental health and behavioral problems in their offspring. This study could begin to explain what’s at play in that relationship.

“We already understand that prenatal stress can be bad for offspring, but the mystery is how,” said Gur, a psychiatrist who is a member of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

Gur said microbes from a mother’s gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts are the first to colonize in a developing fetus (and in newborns). That makes the bacteria an interesting potential explanation of why and how stress before an animal or person is born could prompt mental illness that can last a lifetime.

This study is pointing to alterations in the microbes that live in the placenta and outlines changes found in the placentas of fetal mice that had stressed mothers.

Gur and her colleagues found significant microbial changes to the placentas of the female offspring of stressed mice. They also found alterations in inflammation and growth factors in the placenta, pointing to changes in how the microbes were influencing important dynamics before birth.

And in the female offspring of the stressed mice, the researchers found a lower ability to learn and higher anxiety-like behavior compared to the offspring of non-stressed mother mice. Gur said the team found interesting changes in the male offspring as well, but the details of that part of the study are still in the works.

Gur said she wants to know more about the links between the brain and the bacteria that live in the gut, and she and her colleagues have plans to expand their investigation to pregnant women and their babies. Perhaps one day the work will lead to knowledge about how probiotics could help mitigate the effects of stress and the downstream repercussions, but it’s too soon now to say if they would have any impact, she said.

The stressed mother mice underwent two hours per day for seven days of restraint meant to induce stress. For comparison, the researchers left another group of pregnant mice undisturbed during gestation. Gut bacteria were assessed using fecal samples from the mice.

Gur stressed that the message here is not that mothers are to blame should their children suffer mental illness later in life. Rather, she said, this scientific development presents an opportunity to talk more about the importance of mental health in general and during pregnancy.

“As a psychiatrist who treats pregnant women, if you’re stressed, anxious or depressed, I think pregnancy is a prime time for intervention,” Gur said. “And what’s good for mom is good for the baby.”

Zika Virus: Symptoms and Treatment

Due to its spread and reports of serious birth defects, the World Health Organization declared Zika an international public health emergency earlier this year. 

Most recently, four cases of Zika virus infection in Miami are likely to have been caused by the first locally infected mosquitoes, as announced by the Florida Department of Health on July 29, 2016. So far, no mosquitoes tested have been found to be carrying the virus, and the infected cases have not been admitted to the hospital. 

Worldwide, a total of 64 countries and territories have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2015. As many as 4 million people are expected to be infected by the virus across the globe by the end of the year. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help prevent the spread of Zika. 

1. Zika virus is spread through a mosquito bite—and sex.

Only the Aedes genus of mosquitos has been found to carry Zika, along with other serious infectious diseases, including yellow fever and dengue. These mosquitoes become infected with Zika when they bite an infected person, and spread the virus by biting others. Fortunately, the Aedes mosquito is not common in most parts of the U.S. aside from Florida, along the Gulf Coast and in Hawaii.

Zika can also be passed along through sex, no matter if or when the infected partner shows symptoms, according to the CDC. Only people with sex partners who live in or traveled to an area with Zika are presently at risk for getting sexually transmitted Zika.

2. Zika infections usually cause mild illnesses.

Only 1 of 5 people infected with the virus will develop any symptoms, which can include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, according to the CDC. Symptoms are typically mild and temporary, beginning 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and lasting several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

3. Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

Zika cases have been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with unusually small heads and damaged brains. Pregnant women are advised against traveling to infected areas.

4. Zika may be linked to other serious illnesses.

Zika has been potential link to some cases of Guillain-Barre, a rare syndrome in which the immune system attacks the nerves, in at least 13 countries.Other severe fetal brain defects have caused eye problems, hearing loss and impaired growth in babies born from infected mothers. Scientists are studying the full range of health problems that Zika virus infection may cause during pregnancy.

5. You can protect yourself against Zika virus.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.

According to the CDC, you can protect yourself from Zika by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Always use as directed.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
  • Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children 2 months or older. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.  An adult should spray insect repellent onto her/his hands and then apply to a child’s face.  Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • When traveling to an infected area, use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.

Visit the CDC Travelers’ Health site and Zika hub for the most updated information. 

Be well, stay well ~
Pharmacist Andy

Andy Stergachis, Ph.D., R.Ph. is the Director of the Global Medicines Program at the University of Washington in Seattle and a subject expert on public health and pharmacy-related topics.

Map Of The Developing Human Brain Shows Where Problems Begin (NPR)

The human brain is often called the most complex object in the universe. Yet its basic architecture is created in just nine months, when it grows from a single cell to more than 80 billion cells organized in a way that will eventually let us think and feel and remember.

“We’re talking about a remarkable process,” a process controlled by our genes, Lein says. So he and a large team of researchers decided to use genetic techniques to create a map that would help reveal this process. Funding came from the 2009 federal stimulus package. The project is part of the BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Human Brain.

Images of the developing fetal brain show connections among brain regions. Allen Institute for Brain Science

False Premise Leads to False Conclusion

Well, because you’re not declared dead when your heart stops. Your heart can be kept beating by artificial means like, forever. You’re declared dead when electroencephalography (EEG) activity, also know as brain activity, ceases.

That’s also a generally accepted point at which we are declared alive. Fetal brain activity generally begins around week 25 of a pregnancy, which not coincidentally is also the age when the fetus will be viable outside of the womb. Most states do not allow abortions post-viability, when the fetus is able to survive independently of the mother.

In the fetus, the ductus venosus shunts most of the left umbilical vein blood flow directly to the inferior vena cava. Thus, it allows oxygenated blood from the placenta to bypass the liver. In conjunction with the other fetal shunts, the foramen ovale and ductus arteriosus, it plays a critical role in preferentially shunting oxygenated blood to the fetal brain. It is a part of fetal circulation.

The ductus venosus is open at the time of the birth and is the reason why umbilical vein catheterization works. Ductus venosus naturally closes during the first week of life in most full-term neonates; however, it may take much longer to close in pre-term neonates. Functional closure occurs within minutes of birth. Structural closure in term babies occurs within 3 to 7 days. After it closes, the remnant is known as ligamentum venosum.

washingtonpost.com
Zika can infect adult brain cells, not just fetal cells, study suggests
A study in mice suggests that Zika virus could damage brain areas responsible for learning and memory.

The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the worse it seems.

A growing body of research has established that the virus can cause severe birth defects — most notably microcephaly, a condition characterized by an abnormally small head and often incomplete brain development. The virus also has been linked to cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults, a rare autoimmune disorder that can result in paralysis and even death.

Now, in a study in mice, researchers have found evidence that suggests adult brain cells critical to learning and memory also might be susceptible to the Zika virus.

“This was kind of a surprise,” Joseph Gleeson, a professor at Rockefeller University and one of the co-authors of the study published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell, said in an interview. “We think of Zika health concerns being limited mostly to pregnant women.”

[For Zika-infected pregnancies, microcephaly risk may be as high as 13 percent]

In a developing fetus, the brain is made primarily of “neural progenitor” cells, a type of stem cell. Researchers believe these cells are especially susceptible to infection by the Zika virus, which can hinder their development and disrupt brain growth. Most adult neurons are believed to be resistant to Zika, which could explain why adults seem less at risk from the virus’s most devastating effects.

But some neural progenitor cells remain in adults, where they replenish the brain’s neurons over the course of a lifetime. These pockets of stem cells are vital for learning and memory. Gleeson and his colleagues suspected that if Zika can infect fetal neural progenitor cells, the virus might have the same ability to infect adult neural progenitor cells. That’s precisely what they found.

“We asked whether [these cells] were vulnerable to Zika in the same way the fetal brain is,” Glesson said. “The answer is definitely yes.”

Gleeson is the first to admit that the findings represent only an initial step in discovering whether Zika can endanger adult human brain cells. For starters, the study was conducted only in mice, and only at a single point in time. More research will be necessary to see whether the results of the mouse model translates to humans, and whether the damage to adult brain cells can cause long-term neurological damage or affect behavior.

But the initial findings suggest that the Zika virus, which has spread to the United States and more than 60 other countries over the past year, may not be as innocuous as it seems for adults, most of whom never realize they have been infected. Researchers found that infected mice had more cell death in their brains and reduced generation of new neurons, which is key to learning and memory. The possible consequences of damaged neural progenitor cells in humans would include cognitive problems and a higher likelihood for conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

[Obama administration to shift $81 million to fight Zika]

“Zika can clearly enter the brain of adults and can wreak havoc,” Sujan Shresta, another study co-author and a professor at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, said in a statement. “But it’s a complex disease — it’s catastrophic for early brain development, yet the majority of adults who are infected with Zika rarely show detectable symptoms. Its effect on the adult brain may be more subtle, and now we know what to look for.”

William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, agreed Thursday that the findings are preliminary. But he also called it troubling.

“Here’s the deal — the more we’ve learned about the Zika virus, the nastier it is,” said Schaffner, who was not involved in the study. He said scientists have had concerns all along about Zika’s ability to damage the brain, but until now the worries have focused mostly on the developing brain. “This mouse study will increase our anxiety. … It’s an additional potential way that this virus can cause human illness.”

That’s a possibility that demands further examination, he said, given the hundreds of thousands of people already infected by Zika — a number that continues to grow daily.

“Our attention, quite understandably, has been devoted to pregnant women and newborns, and preventing those infections,” Schaffner said. “This mouse study will tell investigators that, in addition to pregnant women, you have to establish some studies in older children and adults as well.”

Gleeson agreed. “We don’t want to have this be a panic. Zika, for the most part, is a benign condition in healthy humans,” he said. “But we also need to look at the potential consequences in a careful way.”

Fetal Neuromaturation Associated with Mother’s Exposure to DDT and Other Environmental Contaminants

Study is the first to show association between mother’s chemical exposure and fetal motor activity and heart rate

A study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has for the first time found that a mother’s higher exposure to some common environmental contaminants was associated with more frequent and vigorous fetal motor activity. Some chemicals were also associated with fewer changes in fetal heart rate, which normally parallel fetal movements. The study of 50 pregnant women found detectable levels of organochlorines in all of the women participating in the study—including DDT, PCBs and other pesticides that have been banned from use for more than 30 years. The study is available online in advance of publication in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

“Both fetal motor activity and heart rate reveal how the fetus is maturing and give us a way to evaluate how exposures may be affecting the developing nervous system. Most studies of environmental contaminants and child development wait until children are much older to evaluate effects of things the mother may have been exposed to during pregnancy; here we have observed effects in utero,” said Janet A. DiPietro, PhD, lead author of the study and Associate Dean for Research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For the study, DiPietro and her colleagues followed a sample of 50 high- and low- income pregnant women living in and around Baltimore, Md. At 36 weeks of pregnancy, blood samples were collected from the mothers and measurements were taken of fetal heart rate and motor activity. The blood samples were tested for levels of 11 pesticides and 36 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds.

According to the findings, all participants had detectable concentrations of at least one-quarter of the analyzed chemicals, despite the fact that they have been banned for more than three decades. Fetal heart rate effects were not consistently observed across all of the compounds analyzed; when effects were seen, higher chemical exposures were associated with reductions in fetal heart rate accelerations, an indicator of fetal wellbeing. However, associations with fetal motor activity measures were more consistent and robust: higher concentrations of 7 of 10 organochlorine compounds were positively associated with one of more measures of more frequent and more vigorous fetal motor activity. These chemicals included hexachlorobenzene, DDT, and several PCB congeners. Women of higher socioeconomic status in the study had a greater concentration of chemicals compared to the women of lower socioeconomic status

“There is tremendous interest in how the prenatal period sets the stage for later child development.  These results show that the developing fetus is susceptible to environmental exposures and that we can detect this by measuring fetal neurobehavior. This is yet more evidence for the need to protect the vulnerable developing brain from effects of environmental contaminants both before and after birth,” said DiPietro.

“Fetal heart rate and motor activity associations with maternal organochlorine levels: results of an exploratory study” was written by Janet A. DiPietro, Meghan F. Davis, Kathleen A. Costigan, and Dana Boyd Barr.