Immunological diseases in children // Drug Repurposing

Immunological diseases in children

babyfeetCaesarian section births can be a necessary and life-saving procedure for both mother and child. However, research shows that the rates of C-sections are higher than can be explained by necessary use, and this may be affecting the health of children, decades later.

Optimal rates of c-section should be around 5 to 10 per cent, according to the World Health Organization. Research shows that rates above 15 per cent result in more harm than good. Despite that, the US c-section rate was 32.8 per cent in 2010: in other words, 1 in 3 women were delivering babies by caesarian section.

Swedish researchers decided to study children born by c-section to understand more of the implications. What they found is that infants born by c-section are impacted by changes to the DNA pool in their white blood cells. Researchers hypothesize that this impact could be connected to altered stress levels during delivery. (Certainly, emergency c-sections are extremely stressful for both mother and baby.)

The study was published in the July issue ofActa Paediatrica.

These genetic changes could be behind the susceptibility of c-section babies to various immunological diseases, including asthma and diabetes, when combined with environmental triggers.

For a group of 37 babies – 16 born by c-section and 21 born vaginally – umbilical cord blood was sampled. Immediately after birth, babies born by c-section showed higher DNA-methylation. However, within a week of birth, this difference had disappeared.

However, the results of the DNA methylation may be long lived. DNA-methylation is a biological mechanism in which the DNA is modified, so that the body can activate or shut down genes in response to changes in the external environment.

The authors of the study do not know why DNA-methylation would be increased for babies born by c-section, and recommend further research to explore this phenomena. However, this does point to more reasons to avoid Caesarian section unless absolutely necessary.

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"cannot be proven to cause" the things they contribute to. Did you see Erin Brockovitch (spelling is wrong, I'm sure.) The chemical company, everyone, said there was no proof the chemical in question was responsible for the illnesses of the neighboring population, even when anyone doing a proper study could have found it. She simply gathered the evidence any unbiased scientist would have, and found the proof.
It's a great, real life Hollywood ending. Unfortunately, few toxic substances or exposed populations are so virulent and so easily identified. There are literally millions of substances in our environment

Saunders Immunologic Disorders in Infants and Children
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Butterworth-Heinemann Handbook of Immunological Investigations in Children: Handbooks of Investigation in Children
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Springer Hot Topics in Infection and Immunity in Children VI (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology)
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Seminar on Immunological Aspect of Kidney Diseases in Children
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Humana Press The Neurological Manifestations of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunodeficiency Syndromes
Book (Humana Press)
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