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C-Sections May Raise Celiac Disease Risk in Offspring
Date:5/18/2010

But study found no link between cesarean births, other inflammatory bowel conditions

TUESDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Children born by cesarean section may be more likely to develop celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder, than children born vaginally, new research finds.

Researchers analyzed data on almost 2,000 children seen at gastrointestinal outpatient clinics for celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal diseases, and compared their rates of C-section vs. vaginal delivery to children who had not been diagnosed with any gastrointestinal conditions.

Compared to children born vaginally, children delivered by C-section were 80 percent more likely to develop celiac disease.

"We did not find any association with the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," said lead study author Dr. Mathias Hornef of Hannover Medical School in Germany. "We did see a moderate but significant association with celiac disease."

People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, have an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This leads to inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine.

The study is published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers aren't sure why there could be a link between the mode of delivery and celiac disease, but one possible explanation is that children born via C-section don't pick up the same microbes from their mothers as babies that pass through the vaginal canal, Hornef said. This alters the infant's colonization with gut microflora, or "good" microbes, that aid in digestion and fending off pathogens.

Previous research suggests there are differences in the intestinal bacterial flora between children born vaginally or by C-section.

"We are only beginning to understand the complexity of the host-microbial interaction
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