from the I-just-lost-my-appetite dept.
A small human trial (27 participants) has found no benefits to consuming (dried) placental pills. The control group took pills containing beef or vegetarian mock beef:
In two new studies, researchers conclude that new moms who consume their placentas experience no significant changes in their moods, energy levels, hormone levels, or in bonding with their new infant, when compared with moms ingesting a placebo. "It really does show that most of what's going on, if not all, is a placebo effect," says Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the State University of New York in Buffalo who has studied the practice—known as placentophagy—in other animals for more than 40 years.
Humans aren't the only species that eat their placentas. In fact, nearly all mammals do. In rats, placentophagy spurs moms to start taking care of their pups and relieves birthing pain; both amniotic fluid and placentas contain a factor that acts as a morphine-related analgesic. But whether placentophagy confers such benefits in humans has been unclear. What is clear is that the practice is gaining in popularity. Before the 1970s, it was used occasionally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a host of ailments in men and women. Now, there are cookbooks that offer guidelines for the storage and preparation of placenta-based smoothies and meals. Most contemporary consumers first steam and dehydrate the placenta before pulverizing it and fashioning it into a vitaminlike pill.
Maybe they need to eat it when it is fresh and raw instead of dried and powdered.
Effects of placentophagy on maternal salivary hormones: A pilot trial, part 1 (DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.09.023) (DX)
Placentophagy's effects on mood, bonding, and fatigue: A pilot trial, part 2 (DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.11.004) (DX)
The last line of a 17th century poem by John Donne prompted Louise Noble's quest. "Women," the line read, are not only "Sweetness and wit," but "mummy, possessed."
Sweetness and wit, sure. But mummy? In her search for an explanation, Noble, a lecturer of English at the University of New England in Australia, made a surprising discovery: That word recurs throughout the literature of early modern Europe, from Donne's "Love's Alchemy" to Shakespeare's "Othello" and Edmund Spenser's "The Faerie Queene," because mummies and other preserved and fresh human remains were a common ingredient in the medicine of that time. In short: Not long ago, Europeans were cannibals.
[...] "The question was not, 'Should you eat human flesh?' but, 'What sort of flesh should you eat?' " says Sugg. The answer, at first, was Egyptian mummy, which was crumbled into tinctures to stanch internal bleeding. But other parts of the body soon followed. Skull was one common ingredient, taken in powdered form to cure head ailments. Thomas Willis, a 17th-century pioneer of brain science, brewed a drink for apoplexy, or bleeding, that mingled powdered human skull and chocolate. And King Charles II of England sipped "The King's Drops," his personal tincture, containing human skull in alcohol. Even the toupee of moss that grew over a buried skull, called Usnea, became a prized additive, its powder believed to cure nosebleeds and possibly epilepsy. Human fat was used to treat the outside of the body. German doctors, for instance, prescribed bandages soaked in it for wounds, and rubbing fat into the skin was considered a remedy for gout.
A new artificial placenta that mimics conditions in the womb being developed by researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) might provide new hope [for premature babies].
The university has just reported that such an external placenta has kept five extremely premature lambs alive for a week. Although clinical trials are yet to be scheduled for humans, the researchers are hopeful that the technology might one day become a viable way to keep the earliest born babies alive until they can develop on their own.
[...] The artificial placenta works by using an [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation] (ECMO) system in which an external pump, or artificial lung, oxygenates the blood directly and bypasses the lungs. While ECMO has been around awhile, the researchers altered it in this case to serve very premature infants.
The technology would be a godsend for expectant parents if it pans out.
butthurt sent a correction: ECMO is short for "Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation" rather than "Extracorporeal Membrane Oxidation". Sources: Boston Children's Hospital, U.S. National Library of Medicine, and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.