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Issue Date:- 25/27 August 2008

Caesarean babies more likely to have Type 1 diabetes

NEW research reveals that mothers giving birth by Caesarean section have a 20% higher risk of their baby developing Type 1 diabetes in childhood compared to those having natural births, warns leading health charity Diabetes UK.

The research examined 20 published studies on children with Type 1 diabetes born by Caesarean section and found that there was a 20% increase in the risk of babies born by Caesarean section developing Type 1 diabetes.  This could not be explained by other factors such as birth weight, the age of the mother, order of birth, gestational diabetes and whether the baby was breast-fed or not.  On average 24% of pregnancies in England are delivered by Caesarean section, which is significantly higher that the World Health Organisation’s recommended rate of 15%.

Dr Iain Frame, Diabetes UK Director of Research, said:- “Not all women have the choice of whether to have a Caesarean section or not, but those who do may wish to take this risk into consideration before choosing to give birth this way.  We already know that genetics and childhood infections play a vital role in the development of Type 1 diabetes in children, but the findings of this study indicate that the way a baby is delivered could affect how likely it is to develop this condition later in life.  Diabetes UK would welcome more research in this area.”

Dr Chris Cardwell from Queen’s University Belfast led the research.  He said:- “This study shows a consistent 20 per cent increase in the risk of Type 1 diabetes.  It is important to stress that the reason for this is still not understood although it is possible that the Caesarean section itself is responsible, perhaps because babies born via that method are first exposed to bacteria originating from the hospital environment rather than to maternal bacteria.

Type 1 diabetes in childhood has become much more prevalent across Europe recently and the rate of this increase suggests that environmental factors are the cause.

However, despite much investigation, these actual factors remain largely unknown.”

Diabetes is a serious condition that, if not managed, can lead to fatal complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputations.

There are 2.3 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes and 250,000 with Type 1 diabetes.

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Have a say on health and social care

A NEW umbrella group is to be launched which will hold health and social care organisations in Liverpool to account.

The city council’s Executive Board has selected LCVS (Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services) to run the city’s Local Involvement Network, known as LINks.  The job of LINks is to make sure local residents, user groups and relevant organisations are involved in the planning, delivery and scrutiny of local health and social care services. 

The organisation will look at everything ranging from proposed new major hospital developments through to GP practices and council services such as home care and day services.  They will be tasked with making sure the services commissioned are built around the needs of local people, and also look at areas where they can be improved.  LINks will have a place on scrutiny and overview panels such as the city council’s Health, Care and Safeguarding Select Committee, and be able to make recommendations about how services should be improved.

Councillor Ron Gould, executive member for health care, said:- “We all use the NHS or some form of social care service at some time in our lives, and it is vital local people are given an opportunity to have a say about how they are shaped.  This new organisation will be the link between the local community and commissioning organisations such as the council and the NHS.  It will act as a go-between to make sure we are delivering the very best services.  We face major challenges in Liverpool with high mortality rates for diseases such as cancer and a growing elderly population, so the work of this organisation will be vital in helping us meet the needs of local people.”

A series of workshops and events were held earlier this year to find out what organisations involved in the delivery of health and social care and people who use the services want to see.  This included NHS and social care staff, service providers and community organisations.

Graham Wright, Financial Manager at LCVS, said:- “LCVS is delighted to be given this opportunity to host the LINks.  We are looking forward to working in partnership with LINk members and the health and social care sectors, to improve health and quality of life for people in Liverpool.”

LINks covers all health and social care issues within the Liverpool city boundary, and replaces the Patient and Public Involvement forums which focused solely on a particular NHS Trust.  LCVS was selected following a rigorous evaluation of tenders which involved people who use social care services. 

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