Easy Cure Found for Infantile Anemia?

When the bodies of newborns lack iron, physical and mental development can be stifled. New research suggests that leaving the umbilical cord attached longer prevents iron deficiencies.

What's the Latest Development?

Cutting the umbilical cord three minutes after birth, rather than immediately, may prevent iron deficiencies in newborns and stop developmental complications associated with infantile anemia. Swedish researchers recruited 334 healthy pregnant women to conduct an experiment in which, after giving birth, half the umbilical cords were cut immediately and the other half after three minutes. When doctors checked iron levels in the infants four months later, the babies in the latter group had 45% more iron in their blood.

What's the Big Idea?

Conventional wisdom states that leaving the umbilical accord attached to baby after birth risks transmitting too much of the mother's blood to the infant. But new research challenges that wisdom, which also runs contrary to evolutionary biology. In nature, umbilical cords stay attached longer than in hospital conditions. It is only with medical instruments and sharp scissors that it can be separated immediately. If the experiment can be repeated, the burden of proof will shift to those who favor cutting the cord just after birth.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less