Researchers detect 100-million-year-old virus in pregnant women’s blood

October 9, 2017 by  
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Here’s a startling thought: the human genome contains ancient viruses . Researchers recently detected a 100-million-year-old virus called a human endogenous retrovirus (HERV)—that would have infected our ancestors when dinosaurs roamed the Earth—in the blood of pregnant women. They are still puzzling over how retroviruses might affect us in the long term. Eight percent of the human genome is made up of ancient viruses and scientists are still trying to puzzle out their function. Three scientists, led by Gkikas Magiorkinis of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens , wrote an article available online the end of September for Trends in Microbiology , delving into the mystery behind HERVs. They said, “Are they merely fossils that, like mosquitoes in amber, were stuck and preserved in large host genomes while their functions decayed?” They noted the 100-million-year-old retrovirus, first detected by another research group, “became a human gene that is expressed in embryos and cancers , and can be detected in the blood of pregnant women.” Related: University of Queensland scientists uncover an ‘explosion’ of new life forms Retroviruses insert a DNA copy of their RNA into a genome, according to IFLScience – this has devastating consequences with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV , for example. The 100-million-year-old HERV looks to be inactive during most stages, with low expression in many normal tissues, but it is expressed in the placenta, some stem cells, and cancer tissues like those of ovarian cancer, according to the scientists. The expression pattern “suggests potential roles for manipulation of stem cells and early life events, which could have very important impacts on adult diseases.” IFLScience points out the find has raised more questions than it solves – the three researchers suggest a hypothesis at the end of their paper, but no definitive conclusions. They say scientists should explore the roles of endogenous retroviruses to pin down potential anticancer treatments. Via IFLScience Images via freestocks.org on Unsplash and Pixabay

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Researchers detect 100-million-year-old virus in pregnant women’s blood

Levels of Flame-Retardant Chemicals in American Women Finally Dropping

September 28, 2013 by  
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For the first time ever, researchers are finding that levels of flame retardants (PDBEs) are declining in the bodies of American women. The study focused on the bodies of a group of California women, and found that the PDBE levels in their bodies were 65% lower than those found in pregnant women who were tested just three years ago. Considering that flame retardants wreak havoc on our bodies , disrupting thyroid hormones in women and their newborns, as well as reducing IQ and concentration in children exposed, these lowered levels are very encouraging.  There’s still a lot of work to be done, considering that PDBEs are found in all manner of products , but these declining levels are certainly a good start. Click through to learn more about the study, as well as other flame retardants to watch out for: READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: flame retardant , flame retardant chemicals , hormone disruption , PDBE , PDBEs , pregnancy , pregnant women , thyroid        

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Levels of Flame-Retardant Chemicals in American Women Finally Dropping

Are Micronutrients a More Efficient Path to Food Aid Abroad?

April 29, 2011 by  
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Image credit: Build Nutrition Sir Richard’s Condoms and Tom’s Shoes aren’t the only folks pursuing a “buy one, gift one” model of business and philanthropy at the same time. A new supplement company is hoping to use the market for prenatal vitamins in rich countries to help fight nutrient deficiencies in pregnant women and unborn children in poorer nations

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Are Micronutrients a More Efficient Path to Food Aid Abroad?

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