Monday, May 28, 2012

Caesarean section babies 'face double the risk of obesity' than those delivered naturally

All this probably means is that middle class women are healthier and have less need of C-sections.  And fat is working class these days

Babies born by caesarean section are at double the risk of becoming obese children as those delivered naturally, researchers have claimed.

They said the obesity epidemic could be driven in part by rising rates of surgical deliveries.

The rate of caesareans in England is almost 25 per cent, which totals around 155,000 a year.

The operation can be life-saving for mother and baby but about 7 per cent of NHS surgical births occur for no medical reason.

In the US study, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital examined 1,225 mother and child pairs over three years, weighing them and measuring the babies’ body fat. One in four of the deliveries was by caesarean.

After taking into account obesity in the mother and other factors, they found almost 16 per cent of children delivered by caesarean were obese by the age of three compared with 7.5 per cent born naturally.

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, concluded that infants born surgically are not exposed to beneficial bacteria, and therefore their bodies take longer to accumulate good bugs that boost the body’s metabolism.

Obese adults tend to have fewer ‘friendly’ bacteria in their digestive tract and higher levels of ‘bad’ bacteria, which mean they burn fewer calories and store more of them as fat.

However, other studies show that obese women are more likely to need a caesarean, and are more likely to have children who grow up to be overweight or obese.

The researchers said mothers should be made aware of the potential health risks to the baby when choosing a surgical delivery if it is not necessary.

Sue MacDonald, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘This highlights the need to avoid caesareans that are not medically needed.’


Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-301141

Delivery by caesarean section and risk of obesity in preschool age children: a prospective cohort study

By Susanna Y Huh et al.


Objective: To examine whether delivery by caesarean section is a risk factor for childhood obesity.

Design: Prospective prebirth cohort study (Project Viva).

Setting: Eight outpatient multi-specialty practices based in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

Participants: We recruited women during early pregnancy between 1999 and 2002, and followed their children after birth. We included 1255 children with body composition measured at 3 years of age.

Main outcome measures: BMI score, obesity (BMI for age and sex ≥95th percentile), and sum of triceps plus subscapular skinfold thicknesses at 3 years of age.

Results: 284 children (22.6%) were delivered by caesarean section. At age 3, 15.7% of children delivered by caesarean section were obese compared with 7.5% of children born vaginally. In multivariable logistic and linear regression models adjusting for maternal prepregnancy BMI, birth weight, and other covariates, birth by caesarean section was associated with a higher odds of obesity at age 3 (OR 2.10, 95% CI 1.36 to 3.23), higher mean BMI z-score (0.20 units, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.33), and higher sum of triceps plus subscapular skinfold thicknesses (0.94 mm, 95% CI 0.36 to 1.51).

Conclusions: Infants delivered by caesarean section may be at increased risk of childhood obesity. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings and to explore mechanisms underlying this association.


Seaweed pill could help beat arthritis thanks to potent anti-inflammatory effect
Just speculation so far

A pill made from seaweed could one day help treat the painful joint disorder arthritis.  Scientists found a 'nuisance' seaweed that has been destroying coral reefs in Hawaii produces a chemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  It could be used in future medicines to treat other chronic diseases from cancer to heart trouble.

The seaweed is packed with tiny photosynthetic organisms called 'cyanobacterium' which also produce compounds that have shown promise in combating bacterial infections.

Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego first discovered the organism in 2008 off the Kona coast of Hawaii.

They took samples from the seaweed blooms in 2009 as they were overgrowing and smothering the corals underneath. They were also releasing a chemical that was causing the corals to bleach.

Tests on this chemical revealed some surprising results - the seaweed was generating natural products known as honaucins, which had potent anti-inflammation and bacteria-controlling properties.

Researcher Professor William Gerwick said: 'In different arenas these compounds could be helpful, such as treating chronic inflammatory conditions for which we currently don’t have really good medicines.'

Assistant professor Jennifer Smith, added: 'These organisms have been on the planet for millions of years and so it is not surprising that they have evolved numerous strategies for competing with neighboring species, including chemical warfare.

'Several species of cyanobacteria and algae are known to produce novel compounds, many that have promising use in drug development for human and other uses.'

Professor Gerwick said: 'I think this finding is a nice illustration of how we need to look more deeply in our environment because even nuisance pests, as it turns out, are not just pests.

'It’s a long road to go from this early-stage discovery to application in the clinic but it’s the only road if we want new and more efficacious medicines.'

The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology.


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