One woman died of a rare neurological disease that her son infected when he was only a fetus while she was pregnant with him decades ago.
The fetus transmitted to his mother the rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which took all these years to develop.
The adult is now born with a rare genetic mutation that causes brain damage which, in turn, causes decreased mental functions and movement.
The man inherited the pathology of his father, who died years ago. However, what surprised the doctors is that the woman, who died at age 70, apparently did not undergo changes in her genes, but died similarly.
Experts concluded that the mother was infected with the disease because of her child during the pregnancy process since the cells of the fetus passed to the placenta and traveled through the body to reach the brain.
Dr. Ausrine Arekeviciute, MD, Ph.D., a physician and researcher at the University Hospital in Copenahague, explained that when women are pregnant, the fetal cells travel through the placenta throughout the body and can reach several of the mother's organs.
Today the son is still alive, although he is affected by the disease.
It was precisely the son's medical diagnosis that made the doctors suspect that his mother, who did not have the genetic mutation associated with the disease, could have been infected by her own child.
"There are no treatments and the prognosis is not good," said Dr. Ausrine Arekeviciute. "It's a sad story," he said. The case was published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may occur spontaneously, be inherited or be transmitted by contact with infected tissue, for example, during a transplant or by eating contaminated meat.
TEXT: RODRIGO GONZÁLEZ