Increase in Asthma, Allergies Due to Birth Delivery Method?

August 15 2010

A good number of articles report the increase of allergies and asthma, especially among children. Examples cite Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

Researchers in the above examples point to increases in pollution as the likely culprit.

Public health officials would do well to see what a Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientist has to say, from an entirely different perspective.

Babies harbor a different ecosystem, depending on which way they were born, according to new research. That difference in their microbiome may explain why Cesarean (C-section) babies have higher rates of allergies, asthma, and staph infections that are resistant to methicillin.

My June 30 2010 post cites a study showing that at the end of our lives, microbial cells will make up 90% of our cells.

Could this human microbiome be a factor that's at least as significant as pollution contributing to the rise in childhood allergies?  Given that roughly 30% of babies born in the U.S. are delivered by C-section, it would seem so.

To quote Dr. Rob Knight: “In nature, there’s only one way babies are born, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the vaginal bacterial community was important for all sorts of normal development.”

Category: Need to Know
Filed under
: Allergies; Disease Prevention