There’s your run-of-the-mill morning sickness during pregnancy, and then there’s hyperemesis gravidarum. The latter—an extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting—is rare, affecting only about 2 percent of pregnancies. And it’s severe: It can lead to weight loss and land you in the hospital with dehydration. Anyone who has experienced hyperemesis gravidarum (like Kate Middleton) knows it’s the real deal, and two new studies are working to pinpoint the cause in order to emphasize it’s a physical, not a psychological, condition.
The culprit seems to be the excess of a blood-borne protein, growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15). For University of California geneticist Marlena Fejzo, making this discovery was a cause especially close to her heart; she lost a baby because of complications from hyperemesis…
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