A new study suggests that being born by Ceasarian section may have a lasting effect on the brain. In the study, mice born vaginally produced a brain protein called UCP2 which is important for the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory. The protein is also thought to help cells survive in stressful environments in addition to helping metabolize fat and helping babies transition to breastfeeding.
In contrast, the mice born by C-section had lower levels of the protein according to researcher Tamas Horvath of the Yale School of Medicine.
Future studies will look for differences in learning and memory in those born by C-section compared to those born vaginally according to Horvath.
The reason that mice are studied to determine biological details about humans is that human DNA is very similar to that of mice and studies in the past have shown that mice react to environments, nutrients, drugs and situations similarly to humans.