Okay, have you seen these headlines? I have. It's coming from a very small study of mice and being extrapolated to humans. The actual title of the article is: "Ucp2 Induced by Natural Birth Regulates Neuronal Differentiation of the Hippocampus and Related Adult Behavior." I saw it come across my science news feed and I didn't report on it. Why? Because it was a small study, it was in mice and it's still really far from being able to extrapolate to humans. I actually thought that everyone in the media would feel that way. I was wrong.
Now there are a lot of things floating around about this study. My advice? Don't panic. The researchers showed that the mice who were born by cesarean had less of a protein than other mice. Their conclusions? Let's study this some more, it might be clinically relevant to birth as well as breastfeeding. That's a far cry from the headlines. Questions I have include, is it the labor? Or is it the birth? How well would this extrapolate to humans? Are there other sources of this protein?
Some cesareans are truly life savers. Even if this were proven to be true, given the option between a potentially lower IQ or no baby, which do you think a mother is going to chose? So this isn't, at least on this blog, about cesarean versus vaginal birth, but rather about how studies are reported on in the media and how we need to actually read them and look at what they really say. I'm sorry to report, that's not most news sites.
Have you seen this yet? What are your questions?
Simon-Areces J, Dietrich MO, Hermes G, Garcia-Segura LM, Arevalo M-A, et al. (2012) Ucp2 Induced by Natural Birth Regulates Neuronal Differentiation of the Hippocampus and Related Adult Behavior. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42911. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042911