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Fetal cells pop up in mom's thyroid

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12:30pm, April 19, 2004

From Philadelphia, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics

For about a decade, Diana W. Bianchi of the New England Medical Center in Boston has pursued the idea that fetal cells persist in mothers long after pregnancies and perhaps eventually trigger autoimmune disorders (SN: 8/2/97, p. 71: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc97/8_2_97/fob3.htm). Now, there's evidence from her group that lingering fetal cells play a role in thyroid disease—but whether the cells harm or heal the thyroid gland remains an open question.

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