I think this is an incredibly interesting article and thought I would share! I had no idea that c-sections are now being connected to autism! Tell me your thoughts.
(TIME.com) -- Cesarean sections and breast feeding can have lifelong effects on a baby's health, and researchers may have uncovered why.
It's all about the bugs. Or, to be more precise, the bacteria that live in the gut to help digest food and, it turns out, perform a host of other important functions.
In a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers led by Anita Kozyrskyj found that babies born by C-section harbored a different set of microbes in their digestive tracts than those born vaginally, and that infants who were breast-fed had a different recipe of bacteria in their guts than those who were given formula.
"Our goal is to show that some decision about elective C-sections may cause changes that parents can't see but nevertheless affect development," says Kozyrskyj.
The findings add to the growing number of studies that expose more of the hidden universe of these microbes and the role they may play in the risk of conditions ranging from asthma to autism, obesity and cancer. The researchers studied 24 babies and compared the bacteria found in stool samples collected when the infants were 3 months old.
Previous studies have linked cesarean delivery to a higher risk of asthma, diabetes and obesity, but the reason wasn't clear. Now, Kozyrskyj and her colleagues, led by Meghan Azad, suggest that at least part of that heightened risk may be due to the microbes colonizing the babies' guts.
During vaginal delivery, for example, babies are baptized to the world of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens as they pass through the birth canal; birth is, in a sense, their first immunization against the bugs they are likely to encounter in their new environment as their still developing immune systems get to work taking stock of the microbes. Babies pick up the microbial content of their mother's gut.
Over time, the babies' immune systems start to distinguish between friend and foe in the microbial world, and launch attacks on potentially harmful bugs while leaving beneficial ones, like those that live in the gut, alone.
Cesarean section, however, bypasses this immunizing opportunity, and may leave newborns more vulnerable to certain infections since their immune systems are still catching up. In the study, infants born by C-section had fewer colonies of Escherichia and Shigella bacteria than those born vaginally.
These are the seeding species, says Kozyrskyj, and lay the foundation for the next groups of microbes to come. They are critical for priming the newborn's immune system to learn which agents are potentially dangerous and which, particularly those on foods, can be given a pass. "We are still learning about this, but it seems that there is an order (to the colonization)," she says. "And if there is an order, then timing is important."
Breast feeding also resulted in a change in microbes, with formula-fed babies showing more Peptostreptococcaceae bacteria and Clostridium difficile. In adults, C. difficile infection is associated with diarrhea and unpleasant side effects, and while babies don't seem to be as affected by the bacteria, the presence of C. difficile could push out the Escherichia and Shigella that are so critical to developing a strong and healthy immune system.
Whether these differences translate into varied risk for disease isn't clear yet; the study only documented the different combinations of microbes found in each group of infants. But Kozyrskyj says she plans to connect these changes to childhood conditions to find any possible associations between certain microbial communities and conditions such as allergy or asthma.
"The next step is to link these changes to childhood conditions and assess whether these children have different risks for diseases, how severe their conditions are and what the patterns of these diseases are," she says. As more studies hint that the richness and diversity of the microbial community can be an important indicator of a newborn's health, taking stock of what's in the diaper may actually make sense.
f**king everything is linked to autism. or cancer.
Foes this take into accout the number of babies born via section due to distress?- Those babies could have Mecc. I totally understand the theory but i think it needs to be a very clear study done on electives with no complications to be scientifically sound.
Quoting JiLLiAN.:" f**king everything is linked to autism. or cancer."
Lol, pretty much. Next on CNN, oxygen now causes lung cancer.
Wow that was actually a really interesting read. Of course it all seems to be pretty speculative right now.
<blockquote><b>Quoting JiLLiAN.:</b>" f**king everything is linked to autism. or cancer."</blockquote>
Quoting meggymama:" Foes this take into accout the number of babies born via section due to distress?- Those babies could ... [snip!] ... the theory but i think it needs to be a very clear study done on electives with no complications to be scientifically sound. "
I don't think that is really relevant to the study. In distress or not, c-sections are pretty standard, so the babies are being born the same way.
Interesting. I just read a report a couple weeks ago on a recent study identifying differences in the gut between autistic kids and others.
Not only did I feel shitty about having to have an emergency C-Section because I felt like it made me less of a woman, now I get to worry that it will give my kid cancer one day. Cool.
Oh wait... they didn't even check on that yet... they just have a "hunch." This could very well mean absolutely nothing.
Quoting suzyq463:" Interesting. I just read a report a couple weeks ago on a recent study identifying differences in the gut between autistic kids and others."
Do you have the article?
Quoting Asher's mommy [Expecting :" Not only did I feel shitty about having to have an emergency C-Section because I felt like it made me ... [snip!] ... Oh wait... they didn't even check on that yet... they just have a "hunch." This could very well mean absolutely nothing. "
You shouldn't feel like that at all... it does not make you less of a woman... it was an emergency, they saved you and your baby.
Quoting bbbt:" You shouldn't feel like that at all... it does not make you less of a woman... it was an emergency, they saved you and your baby. "
Yeah, but I think a lot of women can't help but feel that way, ya know? At least I did.
Quoting bbbt:" I don't think that is really relevant to the study. In distress or not, c-sections are pretty standard, so the babies are being born the same way. "
i was thinking more that mecc and distress/complications resulting in an emergency section may need to be looked at differently as they would have their own effects? its hard t o explain what im thinking
Quoting Asher's mommy [Expecting :" Yeah, but I think a lot of women can't help but feel that way, ya know? At least I did. "
I don't want people to read this and feel guilty for have a c-section...
I just thought it was an interesting study.