Why Having A Baby Boy Changes Your Brain — New Study

Thu, September 27, 2012 6:55pm EST by 8 Comments
baby boy DNA brain

Having a baby boy may lead to male DNA lingering in the mother’s brain, says a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Keep reading for more details.

There’s nothing like a bond between a mother and her son, but now the connection goes further than scientists originally thought, according to a new study.

When a woman is pregnant with a baby boy, some of his DNA can be transmitted through the mother’s body and up to her brain, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have determined.

The same way a woman passes oxygen and nutrients to her unborn baby through the placenta, the fetus can also send DNA up to the mother, the study suggests. The baby’s cells and his descendants can stay in a woman for decades — male DNA was found in the brain of a 93-year-old woman after she died.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, is the first to find male DNA in women’s brains, although previous studies have found male cells in women’s blood, bone marrow, hearts, and lungs, among other organs.

Although the male DNA could lead to higher odds of bowel and skin cancer, the condition known as microchimerism overall believed to be good for a woman’s health — male DNA may help women fight breast cancer by boosting her immune response, because male cells help protect the woman’s immune system while still fighting off infections.

Also, women live longer than men, and some scientists think that it would be due in part to the introduction of “fresh” cells from the fetus. Although there is no certainty that little girls can’t also pass on their DNA in the same way, it is much harder to test.

What do YOU think of this study HollyMoms? Were you pregnant with a boy — how does this make you feel now? Let us know in the comments below!

— Dory Larrabee & Christina Stiehl

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