Showing posts with label Cesarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cesarian. Show all posts

Friday, 30 August 2019

Cesarian Delivery and Autism – another inconvenient truth?

Brasil is the C-section capital of the world, with rates in the public sector of 35–45%, and 80–90% in the private sector.

A recent study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, analysing 61 previous studies, has again shown a connection between birth by Cesarian Section and an increased risk of autism or indeed ADHD. 

C-sections account for just 16% of births in Sweden, but 32% in North America.

This of course prompted a reaction to reassure future mothers that they have nothing to fear, from experts in obstetrics who of course know nothing about the etiology of autism.  Mothers should be reassured, but trashing the study helps nobody.  Instead of a 1% risk of non-trivial autism, it rises to 1.3%. You still have more than a 98% chance of having a neurotypical child, all other factors being equal.  Without a medically necessary C-section, death is a real possibility.

It was a couple of years ago that the Karolinska Institute highlighted the fact that those with severe autism currently have a life expectancy of under 40 years.  Another inconvenient truth.

Association of Cesarean Delivery With Risk of Neurodevelopmental and Psychiatric Disorders in the Offspring 

Question  Is birth by cesarean delivery associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in the offspring compared with birth by vaginal delivery?
Findings  In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 61 studies comprising more than 20 million deliveries, birth by cesarean delivery was significantly associated with autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Meaning  The findings suggest that understanding the potential mechanisms behind these associations is important, especially given the increase in cesarean delivery rates for nonmedical reasons.
Importance  Birth by cesarean delivery is increasing globally, particularly cesarean deliveries without medical indication. Children born via cesarean delivery may have an increased risk of negative health outcomes, but the evidence for psychiatric disorders is incomplete. 
Conclusions and Relevance  The findings suggest that cesarean delivery births are associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, irrespective of cesarean delivery modality, compared with vaginal delivery. Future studies on the mechanisms behind these associations appear to be warranted. 
Very many things are known to slightly increase the odds of a person having autism and the more risk factors you have the more severely autistic you may be.  This ranges from maternal stress (anything from experiencing a hurricane, work stress, life trauma) to maternal/paternal age, obesity, gestational diabetes, alcohol/drug abuse, illness during pregnancy etc. This combines with whatever is in the parents’ DNA and random mutations that are bound to occur.    

A more rational reaction might be to investigate further why there might be a link and how you could counter any risk to children born by cesarian section.  You only have to read the existing research, or this blog.

There are 2 very good reasons why there should be a link between autism and C section, both have been covered in this blog.

1.     The microbiome comes from the mother. Science is only recently starting to understand the role of bacteria in health, but we know that it plays a key role in conditioning/calibrating the immune system of babies.  Once the immune system has been calibrated it is set for life.  Early exposure to bacteria is necessary and humans evolved to expect it.  If your immune system is over/under sensitive there will be consequences. Birth via C-section avoids exposure to bacteria in the birth canal, unless the newly arrived baby is “seeded” with bacteria from the mother. Mother’s milk is another key source of transferring the mother’s microbiome to the baby. 

2.     We saw that the birthing hormone Oxytocin plays a key role in triggering the “GABA switch” in new-borns. This is the process which transforms immature neurons with high chloride to mature neurons with low chloride shortly after birth.  During natural birth there is a surge in the hormone Oxytocin that is transferred to the baby, this causes the chloride transporter KCC2 to be further expressed and the “opposing” transporter NKCC1 to fade away.  In many people with severe autism their neurons remain in the immature state their entire life.  Just as you can replace the bacteria transfer lost in birth via C-section, there would be absolutely no reason why you could not replicate the surge in Oxytocin to "flip the GABA switch".

The recent study showed that elective C-sections (where the baby is in perfect health and not distressed) are associated with the elevated risk of both Autism and ASD.

Regular readers of this blog would probably be surprised if C-section did not increase autism prevalence.

The important thing is to acknowledge this likely connection and mitigate it, rather than try and fault the numerous studies that have shown the same effect.

The same of course applies to reducing the very small risk from vaccines, rather than construct new studies in a contrived way to show there is zero risk.   If you can safely and cheaply reduce the risk of a negative reaction to vaccines, why wouldn’t you?  Just follow Johns Hopkins example and give Ibuprofen or Montelukast (Singular) for a few days before and after and remember to never give Paracetamol/Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in response to fever after a vaccine. Paracetamol/ Acetaminophen reduces the body’s key antioxidant GSH just when the baby/child may need its neuroprotection most.

Some conditions are associated with preterm births, a good example is Cerebral Palsy (CP), which is twice as common in babies born very early. CP is rarely genetic and is usually considered to be caused by a complication during pregnancy, birth or shortly thereafter. I think you would find a correlation between C-sections and CP, but in this case I doubt you would find it in elective C-sections.   In other words C-sections do not “cause” CP, but they may be associated with it. The ID/MR often found in CP might be elevated by C-section and, if so, would be treatable.


In order to halt the rise in incidence of the disabling kinds of autism there should be steps taken to reduce some of the very many factors that are driving the increase, albeit each one sometimes by a tiny amount.

This would be a good application of all those thousands of autism research papers, many of which have shown what factors contribute to increased risk, that now sit gathering dust.

We are not at the stage of wide scale gene editing, but many simple steps can be taken today to improve future health.  This does not mean do not vaccinate, or avoid medically necessary C-sections; vaccinations and C-sections have saved millions of lives. But, why would you not want to take a good thing and make it even better?  That is what we humans tend to be good at, like the Swedes and their Volvos.

Perhaps take your C-section with a generous smear of Mum's bacteria and a shot of synthetic oxytocin?  

There will be more on Cerebral Palsy in a later post on D-NAC (Dendrimer N-Acetyl Cysteine).