Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Study Sees Bigger Role for Placneta in Newborns' Health

Grady, Denise. "Study Sees Bigger Role for Placenta in Newborns’ Health." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 May 2014. Web. 23 May 2014. <>.

            Scientists have been studying the effect of the placenta on babies. If there are the wrong bacteria in the placenta the baby may be premature. The causes of this include periodontal disease and urinary infections. However, scientists are finding the bacteria in the placenta are important to the development of the fetus. A theory is babies born by a cesarean are not exposed to the bacteria in the birth canal. The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients, secretes hormones, and removes waste. Scientists are amazed at the placenta. It is the only organ that the human body creates a totally new one and then discards it. Scientists believe all the bacteria in babies were acquired during birth. However, babies are born covered in a wax to try and prevent bacteria getting to the baby. Researchers collected placentas to study the bacteria inside. About 300 different types of bacteria were inside, most harmless. The closest match with the body was between the mouth and the placenta. The oral bacteria get in the mother’s bloodstream and make its way to the placenta. Therefore women with periodontal disease tend to have premature babies.

            In modern day a pregnant woman can schedule a cesarean section to prevent an unsafe delivery. However, how do we know if a harsh delivery is worse than the baby not being exposed to the bacteria in the birth canal? Scientists will have to study which one affects the baby more. In other words can one form of delivery cause longer term issues to the baby. I was born with a muscle issue in my neck. This was made worse during a normal delivery. Could a cesarean section have made my issue better or worse? I wonder if this would change anything about me today.

            This article described the role of the placenta clearly and understandable. However, when they talked about the oral bacteria making its way to the placenta they never offered how to help this. They should have described how scientists today are trying to help solve this issue. I thought it was smart to show the different types of theories scientists have about where the bacteria in babies comes from. I also enjoyed how scientists admitted they are intrigued by the placenta and still don’t know so much about it. Lastly I think they could have explained the experiment they did more in depth. I didn’t quite understand what they found from it and how it helped scientists advance.

1 comment:

  1. Great job Lindsay! Your current was very well written and I like that you asked a lot of questions, from reading this current event I learned all about the placenta. One reason I decided to do my comment on this current event was because I knew very little about the placenta, and you did very good job, and I was able to learn a lot. Also, I thought that in your critique you made really good points. Also, I thought it was good that you added a little about a personal experience.
    In your current event there were many things to learn, for example, the placenta provides oxygen and nutrients, secretes hormones, and removes waste. I was surprised to read that they contain about 300 different types of bacteria. It is good that you added an example of another part of the body that is similar to the placenta. Therefore, the reader could make a connection and understand the placenta a little more.
    One suggestion I have to make your current event even better would be to explain the placenta more, you do explain the placenta a little bit, however; having more would make it clearer. For example, stating where the placenta is found in the body.