My sister just gave me her copy of Newsweek, the November 1, 2010 edition, because it had an article about prematurity inside. The Prematurity Puzzle by Jeneen Interlandi on page 42, professes the new discovery that the placenta is an actual organ. The idea presented is that the placenta may play a vital role in fetal brain development. The conclusion is that if this is the case then separation from the placenta too early, as in the case of premature delivery, could be the reason for neurological impairment in many preemies.
Studies are currently in progress that compare oxytocin levels of 2-year old preemies with and without autism to see if they can link differences back to the placenta. Oxytocin is a hormone involved in emotional attachment.
Another interesting fact stated in the article is that preemies born prior to 27 weeks gestation are “twice as likely to develop autism.”
I’m finding myself nodding at the idea that the loss of communication from mother to baby via the placenta could have a huge impact on fetal brain development. It just makes sense.
What do you think?
Read “The Prematurity Puzzle” at newsweek.com.Related