12.16.2006

Babies Brains Protected at Birth by Mom's Hormones
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Surging hormones ocurring in natural childbirth may offer protection and a boost to baby's brain, according to new research.

The massive surge in the maternal hormone oxytocin that occurs during delivery might help protect newborns against brain damage, a new study involving rats suggests.

Researchers say the findings should encourage scientists to investigate whether elective caesarean sections, which lack this oxytocin surge, disrupt normal brain development.

Yehezkel Ben-Ari, a neuroscientist at the Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology in Marseille, France, and colleagues compared brain tissue samples from rat pups born naturally or by caesarean section. Brain cells from the naturally born pups did not fire in response to the nerve signalling chemical GABA, the researchers found.

read more at New Scientist

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