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posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @01:03AM   Printer-friendly
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)

Related: The Gruesome History of Eating Corpses as Medicine
Prematurely Born Lambs Kept Alive With Artificial External Placenta - Human Babies Could be Next


Original Submission

Related Stories

The Gruesome History of Eating Corpses as Medicine 9 comments

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.


Original Submission

Prematurely Born Lambs Kept Alive With Artificial External Placenta - Human Babies Could be Next 26 comments

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.


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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @01:26AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @01:26AM (#605451)

    Lots of things may be good for you in bulk (eggs, mushrooms, bran, turkey, carrots...) but having them as occasional tiny pills isn't going to make a difference. You need to chow down.

    Take this recipe for example:

    https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Placenta_with_Broccoli [wikibooks.org]

    It's not magic. It's not even really different from the same recipe but substituting gizzards, tripe, or sea cucumber. It's food. It's good for you, but you'll need to eat it in quantity. It's not a drug.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday December 05, @01:36AM (1 child)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @01:36AM (#605454) Journal

      How do you even know its good for you? How is it different that fried thigh or broiled buttocks?

      You've already cooked out all the supposed benefits. All you are left with is the fad.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @04:58AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @04:58AM (#605512)

        The whole point of this study is it's good for the researchers who have to publish or perish... Then another batch of researchers can do another study with raw versions, then cooked (but not powdered) placenta. Can stretch this line of "research" for decades. From what I see Modern Science is not about doing excellent and fairly conclusive research but getting $$$$, I don't blame the researchers - they have to do it to get $$$$.

        FWIW I doubt eating placenta is that beneficial (probably eating cooked chicken/lamb liver would be better). But this study is like studying the health benefits of eating broccoli by having people take it dried and powdered in pills.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Tuesday December 05, @01:38AM (4 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday December 05, @01:38AM (#605455)

      I remember watching a video at school, where the mommy big cat ate her placenta after delivery, with the commentator saying something like "full of blood and very nutritious, it will help her produce good milk for her babies until she's ready to hunt again".
      Either biology has changed in 30 years, or science found that comment was wrong ... or the people taking it as small pills really didn't get the "don't waste resources when weak" point.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Tuesday December 05, @02:02AM (3 children)

        by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday December 05, @02:02AM (#605469)

        Indeed. It also sounds like in other mammals the benefits are associated with chowing down, raw, shortly after giving birth. When stress levels are at their highest and the mother likely too exhausted to hunt/scavenge effectively. No reason whatsoever to assume that whatever chemical cocktail might be within them to help with that scenario would be particularly useful days or even hours later. Much less after being dried, fried, or subjected to any of the other chemical-destroying processes humans like to do to their food, or consumed in small quantities over an extended period.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bob_super on Tuesday December 05, @02:06AM (2 children)

          by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday December 05, @02:06AM (#605470)

          Extra bonus: Having fresh bloody meat attracts predators, so removing the evidence before it stinks is easier than hiding the pups.

          Which egg-wearing Hollywood starlet sold people on the idea that drying/pilling would have benefits? I guess I'm jealous I'm not as shameless as those people.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday December 05, @08:26AM

      by driverless (4770) on Tuesday December 05, @08:26AM (#605547)

      This cooking guide [youtube.com] provides a much better insight into cooking placenta.

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday December 05, @01:32AM (1 child)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @01:32AM (#605453) Journal

    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

    I wanted to say Awaaaa, but I think I'll just say eww.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @01:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @01:49AM (#605461)

      I'll use a placenta, springy and juicy and salty. Open your mouth, here, let me shove it in. Now bite down and suck on the juice. Mmmmm.

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday December 05, @01:46AM (3 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday December 05, @01:46AM (#605459)

    they are just cooking it the wrong way...
    https://paleoleap.com/raw-meat/ [paleoleap.com]

    --
    (Score: tau, Irrational)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @01:53AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @01:53AM (#605463)

      I prefer mine pan fried with Jalapenos and Limburger cheese, and wash it down with buttermilk (or breast milk).

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday December 05, @02:01AM (9 children)

    A survey of doctors a while back found that it is quite common for doctors to prescribe such placebos as real prescription drugs that in themselves don't do anything about their patients' complaints.

    That's why drug trials always compare the candidate drug to placebo - they don't compare the drug to taking nothing at all.

    Tangentially related is a study that verified that the human mind can cure warts: a group of volunteers with the worst kind of warts - all over their bodies - were hypnotized then given the suggestion that their warts would disappear from just one-half of their bodies.

    They really did.

    Oddly, some patients cured the warts from the wrong side!

    Throughout much of my mental illness I had unexplainable sores breaking out all over my lower legs and feet. They would come and go.

    After I while I could consciously control them. A little while longer and they disappeared completely.

    The warts and my sores were psychosomatic illnesses - real illnesses with real germs that really do cause sickness or damage to the body, but whose ultimate cause is the human brain.

    --
    127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Arik on Tuesday December 05, @03:05AM (2 children)

      by Arik (4543) on Tuesday December 05, @03:05AM (#605480)
      Yes, the placebo effect is very, very real.

      It's the main thing used by traditional healers, shamans, witch-doctors, etc.

      The *good* ones probably have better rates of success than your doctor.
      --
      "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @03:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @03:12PM (#605654)

      whose ultimate cause is the human brain

      For the warts, it's closer to: latent viral infections are kept in check by a fully functional immune system, but viral replication can also be induced by stress or other physiological cues.

      Anything that inhibits your immune response or anything that induces the signaling Cascades that promote replication can allow viral expansion to symptomatic levels.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Lester on Tuesday December 05, @04:10PM (3 children)

      by Lester (6231) on Tuesday December 05, @04:10PM (#605682)

      Tested drugs do really work, antibiotics do really work, biochemicals science do really work, radiation do really work, surgery do really work.

      Placebos help (i.e can boost a lot immunologic system), but most times only temporally and against symptoms. Placebos can't cure a cancer and that is the danger. People may stop feeling symptoms for some time and get rid of traditional medicine relying on placebos while illness keeps working.

      So placebos and so psychology may help a lot but physical medicine do really cure. If orthodox medicine can't do it, don't expect too much from placebos or alternative medicine.

      • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Wednesday December 06, @07:50AM (2 children)

        by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 06, @07:50AM (#606028) Homepage Journal

        The book "Laughter Is The Best Medicine" was written by a guy who had what was diagnosed to be terminal cancer.

        He decided to go out in style so he rented lots of funny movies. After a period of feeling joyful all the time his cancer went into remission.

        --
        127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
        • (Score: 2) by Lester on Wednesday December 06, @02:18PM (1 child)

          by Lester (6231) on Wednesday December 06, @02:18PM (#606130)

          So?
          And many people gets cured by prayers in Lourdes sanctuary.That is not science, that is anecdotical evidence. You should check a group of people that followed a medical treatment and people who follow alternative treatment. Medicine says 70% of success, 30% of failure. Alternative medicine says "it worked forma this guy" but how many cases it didn't work? Answer "It worked also for that other guy"

          Steve Jobs, after a diagnostic of cancer, ignored doctors recomendaciones for 9 months and when he decided to follow a normal treatment, it was too late and finally died of... stubbornness.
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs#Health_issues [wikipedia.org]

          • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Thursday December 07, @01:46AM

            by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Thursday December 07, @01:46AM (#606530) Homepage Journal

            I remain puzzled by that.

            Tim Cook had himself tested for transplant compatibility - he was. Yet Jobs turned down Cook's quite selfless offer.

            (We can donate one lobe of our liver while the rest of it takes up the slack. Live donors can also give one of their kidneys.)

            --
            127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @05:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @05:52PM (#605726)

      "You mean if I eat this placenta pill Donald Trump will really be impeached?"
      "Yes, any day now"

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snotnose on Tuesday December 05, @02:06AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Tuesday December 05, @02:06AM (#605471)

    Color me knocked down with a feather.

    Now, if I could butcher her buttocks and put some nice human shoulders in the crockpot with onion, cumin, salt and pepper;, well, something says this post is about to get me into trouble....

    / if you don't cook, pork butt is actually the pig's shoulder
    // still not something I want to eat
    /// don't really want to read another Trump quote either, but here we are

  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday December 05, @02:38AM

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday December 05, @02:38AM (#605477) Homepage
    presumably, with only so few participants, it would be almost impossible to achieve a significant result unless the effect itself was quite large. I can't access the elsevier links to see what actual numbers they're putting on things. It does seem like the experiment was set up to confirm that it's indistinguishable from placebo. I'm pretty sure there's very little in the stuff that isn't in a hearty meal, so I'm not terribly surprised, but that doesn't make either an actual bad choice.
    --
    I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday December 05, @03:01AM (6 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday December 05, @03:01AM (#605479)
    I could have sworn there was a law prohibiting this.

    So I did a quick search and found this.

    http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/is_cannibalism_illegal

    Looks like these commie mommies better stay out of Idaho ;)

    Also according to another source it's legal in the UK. I have no idea on other countries however. YMMV.
    --
    "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 05, @06:56AM (5 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @06:56AM (#605522)

      If a leprosy sufferer loses a finger and someone eats it, it's still cannibalism? What about a finger lost during the mincing of your [favourite-hamburger-joint-name here]?
      What about the discards from the surgical interventions?
      If Tyler Durden would have use the human fat to fry doughnuts, it's still cannibalism?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Arik on Tuesday December 05, @08:17AM (2 children)

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday December 05, @08:17AM (#605546)
        noun: cannibalism = eating the flesh of one's own species.
        --
        "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 05, @02:03PM (1 child)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @02:03PM (#605620)

          Idaho books [idaho.gov]

          CANNIBALISM DEFINED -- [...]. (1) Any person who wilfully ingests the flesh or blood of a human being is guilty of cannibalism.

          By this definition:
          - if you ingest lymph, bones, internal organs, just the fat or the brain is not cannibalism;
          - if you ingest flesh or blood of a human being unwillingly is not cannibalism

          noun: cannibalism = eating the flesh of one's own species.

          Extremely limited in the scope of what a true cannibal eats

          • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday December 05, @07:43PM

            by Arik (4543) on Tuesday December 05, @07:43PM (#605778)
            That's the legal definition, for the purposes of the statute. So if it's unwilling it's not criminal cannibalism as defined by statute, but it's still cannibalism in the normal sense of the word.

            Also lymph, organs, fat, etc. are all encompassed by the word flesh.

            --
            "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday December 05, @12:42PM (1 child)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @12:42PM (#605595) Homepage Journal

        And if all the cells you were born with have died and been replaced with new ones, are you the same person you were then?

        :)

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @10:41AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @10:41AM (#605572)

    Cannibalism was learned from the jews. Animals engage in this behavior and jews being animals do this too. They also do a lot of things for ritual, like drinking a healthy baby's blood and consuming its flesh.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @03:40PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @03:40PM (#605671)

    ...is really living up to its name.

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