Caesarean Section May Increase Baby’s Risk of Autism


Our Saturday green news brings you the latest on health, parenting and cool baby and kid products:

broccoli sprouts, autism

Photo courtesy of Katie Levesque via Flickr

  • C-section may increase baby’s risk of autism: According to a new study from the University College Cork in Ireland and recently published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, babies born via Caesarean section could be at a 23-percent greater risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study represents a meta-analysis of twenty five previously published papers on the links between C-sections and conditions such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While the actual connection between autism and C-sections is still “unclear,” one theory is based on the fact that elective C-sections are often performed weeks before the due date, which is reducing the baby’s brain development time. Another theory is based on fact that a baby born via C-section is exposed to a different gut flora than a baby born via vaginal delivery, which may affect his psychological development.
  • Chemical found in broccoli sprouts may reduce symptoms of autism : According to a new study based on a research collaboration between Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, which was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, chemical found in broccoli sprouts has a capacity to temporarily improve symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Broccoli sprouts, along with other cruciferous veggies, contain precursors of a chemical called sulforaphane. This molecule has been studied for its ability to help combat oxidative stress in cells, since cells damaged by this stress can display abnormalities in cell signaling, and can even develop inflammation leading to chronic diseases like cancer. Previous research by co-author Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins found that sulforaphane helps the body’s heat-shock response, which protects cells when faced with fevers or other sources high temperatures. The researchers found that about half of those receiving the treatment of sulforaphane saw improvement. As Mr. Talalay explained: “We believe that this may be preliminary evidence for the first treatment for autism that improves symptoms by apparently correcting some of the underlying cellular problems.”
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