Friday, March 01, 2013

Caesarean babies at higher risk of allergies: Infants born by C-section are five times more likely to suffer common reactions

To state the obvious:  Babies born by C-section probably already have problems  -- or their mother does  -- so THAT could be the cause of later ill health

Caesarian birth greatly increases a baby’s chances of developing allergies, a study has found.

Infants delivered by C-section are five times more likely than those born naturally to become allergic to common triggers such as dust mites and pets, according to the research.

Scientists believe the babies are left vulnerable by avoiding the journey through the birth canal, which would normally expose them to their mother’s bacteria.

The discovery lends support to the 'hygiene hypothesis' that links childhood allergy to over-clean conditions early in life.

Lead researcher Dr Christine Cole Johnson, from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in the U.S., said: 'This further advances the hygiene hypothesis that early childhood exposure to micro-organisms affects the immune system’s development and onset of allergies.

'We believe a baby’s exposure to bacteria in the birth canal is a major influencer on their immune system.'

Dr Johnson’s team studied 1,258 newborn babies and assessed them when they were one month, six months, one and two-years-old.

By two years of age, babies born by C-section were much more likely to have developed allergies to triggers in the home such as the droppings of house dust mites, and dander, or dead skin, shed by dogs and cats.

Umbilical cord and stool samples from each baby were analysed, together with blood samples from both parents, breast milk and household dust.

Information was also collected on every family’s history of allergy or asthma, household pets, tobacco smoke exposure, baby illnesses, medication use, and aspects of pregnancy.

The results of the research were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in San Antonio, Texas.

Half of all children and teenagers in the UK have experienced allergies by their 18th birthday.

Each year the number of allergy sufferers in the UK increases by 5 per cent, half of whom are children.

An estimated 21 million UK adults have at least one allergy. Ten per cent of children and adults under the age of 45 have two or more allergies.

Maureen Jenkins, director of clinical services at the charity Allergy UK, said: 'During a natural birth the baby travels slowly down the birth canal where it ingests normal bacteria, which has been shown to aid a healthy immune response and protect against allergy.

'In the case of a Caesarean section, the baby has no contact with the birth canal. Instead it is immediately removed from a sterile environment, meaning the chances of developing allergy could be heightened.'


Philadelphia food police swap in costly school lunch menu

School officials at one Philadelphia school have joined an “Eatiquette” program to crack down on unhealthy eating, banning processed food and requiring students to partake in a more family-style dining atmosphere.

“This is more than just eating healthy,” said Marc Vetri, a local chef who operates two restaurants in Philadelphia and who has been hired to provide meals at People For People Charter School, according to The Associated Press. “This is learning how to interact with each other.”

No more cafeteria trays and bench tables. Now students are served on dishes that are passed around circular tables, and they eat off plates using silverware, AP reports. And the food? It’s restaurant fare — like baked zita with a side of fennel salad, and cinnamon apple rice pudding for dessert, AP reports.

The “Eatiquette” plan calls for only fresh ingredients and on-site food preparation, AP says. Processed meats and foods are banned, as well as frozen and canned produce.

The program is costly. At about $1.50 per meal, it’s more than what the school currently pays, AP says. And 80 percent of the students that attend the school receive taxpayer assistance for free or reduced-price meals, AP says.

“It costs more, but we believe there is a benefit,” said one official, who said the program could one day be offset through grant funds, AP reported.


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