Placenta has a Huge Role in Baby’s Health
Placenta, a vital organ for a baby’s health, is formed by about 12 weeks from conception. The organ has a major role in nurturing a baby by offering nutrients, oxygen, and antibodies and by eliminating waste. Also, placenta represents a great connection between mother and baby.
Recent studies have suggested that a placenta might have a even bigger role than we previously thought. Researchers from the Babraham Institute and the University of Cambridge looked into more than 100 genes in mice known to be important for a survival of an embryo. According to the study, more than two-thirds of genes were connected to issues that might happen with a placenta.
Scientists now wonder how many birth defect issues might have their root in the placenta.
Susan Fisher of the University of California, San Francisco who studies placenta said:
“You cannot just look at the embryo. You should work backward from the placenta.” Furthermore, scientists believe that placenta is underappreciated, calling it “the forgotten organ.”
The Human Placenta Project used ultrasound to investigate blood vessels and blood flow in the placenta during the middle trimester. They also used magnetic resonance imaging to study how oxygen distribution works with twins who share a placenta. Identifying genes that affect the placenta proved how many of those genes in mice are associated with heart, blood vessel and brain problems in a developing fetus.
Further studies of the placenta could change how pregnancy is being monitored in the United States.
Pumping Water Underground Might Have Caused Korean Earthquake
Injecting water into the ground for geothermal power generation could have caused an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5. The earthquake shook a part of South Korea last year in November. Two new studies suggest that the fluid pumped underground by the Pohang power plant could have triggered the earthquake in an area that was already stressed.
If authorities manage to confirm that the plant is the main culprit, the earthquake which injured 70 people and caused approximately $50 million in damages could be the largest earthquake induced by the enhanced geothermal system.
The technology used in this area involved high-pressure pumping of cold water into the ground to create paths for the water to be heated. The plant later retrieves the water converting heat into power.
What is also suspicious is that there was no seismic activity in this area prior to the injection, suggesting that injections could be easily be responsible for the earthquakes.
The findings could be a game changer for the industry, leading to a re-evaluation of the danger that comes with this process. Previous studies also linked fluid injection into the ground with seismic activity. The high volume of fluid injection can lead to earthquakes as fluid injections significantly increase subsurface pressures.
The largest human-induced earthquakes in the United States was triggered by injecting approximately 20 million tons of wastewater from oil drilling.
Footprints Prove Humans Hunted Giant Sloths During Ice Age
Footprints found in New Mexico confirm that humans once haunted for giant sloths thousands of years ago. The report was recently published in Science Advances.
Giant sloths vanished at the end of the last Ice Age which happened 10,000 years ago. We assume they weighed as much as an average elephant today.
In April last year, researchers found more than 100 tracks in White Sands. The tracks are known as “ghost tracks” previously were hidden since they can be seen only in the right moisture conditions. Further tests proved that the human and sloth prints were actually made at the same time. An analysis of prints showed that there was some type of interaction between the two species.
Sally Reynolds, a paleoecologist at Bournemouth University in Poole, England said:
“We’re getting a view into the past, of an interaction between two species. This was a moment of action, a moment of drama.”