"It's my womb!" "No, it's my womb!"
Siblings apparently are never too young to be rivals, a video taken from a new high-clarity MRI scan shows.
The high-tech monitor, also dubbed the "cinematic MRI," allows doctors to see, in better detail, when twins vie for space in utero, Dr. Marisa Taylor-Clarke of Imperial College's Robert Steiner MR Unit in London told Reuters.
While the new MRI provides amazing footage, it has an important application on a diagnostic level: Doctors use it to diagnose how fetuses are affected by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) -- a dangerous condition in which one identical twin siphons blood away from the other, the doctor said.
"A lot of the so-called videos in the womb are very processed, so they do a lot of reconstructing and computer work afterwards. These are the raw images that are acquired immediately," Taylor-Clarke told New Scientist to explain why she uses the technique to study TTTS.
This condition deprives the "donor" of nutrients and can put too much pressure on the heart of the one receiving the lion's share, according to the Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation. It can occur at any time during pregnancy. While a regular ultrasound may be able to detect TTTS, it does not reveal its impact.
Advances in technology have allowed doctors, parents and researchers to get an up-close look at fetuses in the womb.
In November, Reuters reported that British researchers said they were able to distinguish yawning from "non-yawn mouth opening" by studying 4D video footage.
While it had been known that fetuses could hiccup, swallow and stretch, yawning had been a point of contention among scientists, with some arguing that fetuses were just merely opening their mouths.
However, as Nadja Reissland of Durham University's department of Psychology, noted at the time, fetuses don't yawn because they're tired. "Instead, the frequency of yawning in the womb may be linked to the maturing of the brain early in gestation," she said.