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The Atlantic: A Breakthrough in the Mystery of Why Women Get So Many Autoimmune Diseases

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by ME/CFS Skeptic, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. ME/CFS Skeptic

    ME/CFS Skeptic Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    The main idea of the theory proposed is that in pre-modern times women were pregnant a lot of the time and the placenta was signaling the immune system to be chill. Now that women get pregnant much less, there is no longer that feedback from placentas that kept the immune system in check and that is believed to be the cause why women get so many autoimmune diseases. According to this hypothesis, women who had a lot of babies should have less auto-immune diseases.

    Full article: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/06/women-autoimmune-diseases-pregnancy/591901/

    I'm posting this because one of the few robust findings in the field of ME/CFS is that women tend to have the illness more often than men.
    alktipping, rvallee, MEMarge and 9 others like this.
  2. andypants

    andypants Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    How does that fit with the fact that a lot of women develop autoimmune disease and ME from pregnancy/childbirth?

    Also, haven’t women always had more of these issues, even if the frequency might be higher now (which I have yet to see any convincing evidence of)?

    Not buying it.
  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    London, UK
    The theory is based on a common misconception - that the placenta and fetes are 'foreign' and should be rejected like a foreign graft.

    This is one of the most persistent myths in immunology but it does not work, for the simple reason that the mother and the placenta each have their own separate circulatory system. A skin graft is rejected because it is applied by the host circulation with host immune cells, that return to host lymph nodes and activate more host cells to return to the graft. But a placenta is supplied by the foetus's circulation and the foetus's cells which return to the foetus's lymph nodes and find nothing foreign for the foetus.

    The only immune reaction that you get in pregnancy is a maternal reaction against stray foetal red cells that get into the mother's circulation and stimulate antibodies that can then get into the foetus and cause rhesus disease (neonatal haemolytic anaemia).

    We live in a world of Chinese whispers.
    TrixieStix, TigerLilea, sea and 10 others like this.
  4. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    What the implications are I don't know but I have read that they find DNA from all your children in your blood.
    The science of genetics is immensely more complicated than anyone expected and will take a long time to unravel.

    The way one x chromosome is inactivated at random in every cell of a woman may even have consequences.

    Biology is so complex and interesting it is a source of endless fascination - one reason why I get so angry at the facile explanations of the BPS crowd.
    alktipping, Amw66, MEMarge and 6 others like this.
  5. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I will write an email to the author--is it OK if I cc you @Jonathan Edwards--thanks.
    alktipping likes this.
  6. wingate

    wingate Established Member (Voting Rights)

    Jaybee00 likes this.
  7. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Thanks—I think I remember that one...
  8. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Its a theory that can be "confirmed" with confirmation bias.
    And this theory will be used as rationalization for treating women as baby incubators :mad:
    andypants likes this.

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