Tuesday, 26 Aug, 2008 Science

Babies Delivered by Caesarian Section More Likely to Develop Diabetes


A study performed by scientists at Queen's University Belfast showed that babies delivered by Caesarian section are 20 percent more likely to develop a common type of diabetes.

Together with their colleagues Dr Chris Cardwell and Dr Chris Patterson analyzed 20 published studies from 16 countries featuring about 100,000 children who have Type 1 diabetes and more than a million control children.

Currently researchers cannot explain why children delivered through Caesarian section are at higher risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.

"Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, and one theory suggests that being born by Caesarean section may affect the development of the immune system because babies are first exposed to bacteria originating from the hospital environment rather than to maternal bacteria," said Dr Cardwell, from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

Dr Chris Patterson added: "unless a biological mechanism is established it would be unwise to read too much into this association between Caesarean section delivery and diabetes."

Iain Foster, Director of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said that scientists are already aware that genetics and childhood infections are the main factors that influence the development of Type 1 diabetes in children.

She said: "the findings of this study indicate that the way a baby is delivered could affect how likely it is to develop this condition later in life. Diabetes UK Northern Ireland would welcome more research in this area."

Source: Eurekalert

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