This Week in Health: Fewer babies born by C-section

New York City hospitals are apparently expected an influx of babies this summer conceived during Hurricane Sandy. Credit: Metro File Photo.
Fewer pregnant women are having Caesareans. Credit: Metro file photo

National Caesarean rate levels off
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Moms across the U.S.
Results: Caesarean delivery rates in the U.S. have not increased over the past three years, the CDC reports. This counters an alarming 12-year trend that saw an increase in Caesarean deliveries, many for nonmedical reasons.
Significance: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hopes this translates as a reduction in deliveries before 39 weeks’ gestation, but the figures also found that the Caesarean rate at the 39-week mark has increased. No reason was given for this increase.

Portion labeling affects how much we eat
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 217 participants
Results: How much we eat and how much we are willing to pay for our food is influenced by how a portion is labeled, say Cornell University researchers. A new study, “One Man’s Tall is Another Man’s Small: How the Framing of Portion Size Influences Food Choice,” which was published online on Health Economics, found that people will pay more for a portion that sounds larger and they will eat more of an enormous portion if it is labeled as a smaller portion.
Significance: The study seems to indicate that people are not using satiation as a guide to how much they eat.

Protein linked to Alzheimer’s identified
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Mice
Results: A protein called caspase-2 could play an important role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, say researchers at Columbia University Medical Center. Recent studies using mice found that this protein regulates signals that lead to cognitive decline associated with the disease.
Significance: The researchers think that inhibiting this protein could prevent Alzheimer’s by stopping the neurological damage that leads to cognitive decline.

Eating peanuts may curb obesity
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Mexican-American sixth graders
Results: Adolescents who consumed peanuts at least once per week were less likely to be overweight or obese and had significantly higher intakes of magnesium and vitamin E compared with those who didn’t, according to a study published in Nutrition Research. The peanut eaters also consumed more vegetables and had more fiber in their diets.
Significance: “Low cost and easily implemented interventions such as increasing peanut consumption may be one way to address health risks in at risk populations,” says study leader Dr. Craig Johnston, Instructor at the Behavioral Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.


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