Thursday, February 9, 2006

Bystanding gawkers or good samaritan cells?

On NPR yesterday morning I heard: Babies' Cells Linger, May Protect Mothers. Very touching, if true - and I also liked the discussion by the scientists of how they have to resist being seduced by the hypothesis while continuing to work towards proof.

In sum: the article discusses an unexpected finding, that in healthy mothers fetal cells from all her pregnancies are found in her bloodstream, and are found in particular abundance near sites of injury or disease. Whether the cells are helping a'la stem cells, hurting the mother, or simply bystanding hasn't been proven, but the scientists are leaning towards - and evidence suggests - that the fetal cells may be helping the mother recover from injury or disease.