Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/12/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
TORONTO -- A new study suggests the way babies are born and fed in early life affects the bacteria they carry around in their gut.
And that in turn may influence their future health, including such things as whether they will develop asthma, allergies or other medical conditions.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta, is published in this week's issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Senior author Anita Kozyrskyj said it is important medical teams and parents understand the choices made about mode of delivery and method of feeding have an impact.
She and colleagues studied the gut microbiomes of 24 infants; that's the term for the diverse collection of bacteria people carry in their intestinal tracts.
They found distinct differences in the numbers and types of bacteria present when they compared babies born by caesarean section to those born by vaginal birth, as well as babies breastfed and fed with formula.
"There are a lot of things we don't know about the impact of health-care interventions such as caesarean section delivery on the developing infant," said Kozyrskyj. "To date, most of the evidence informing physicians and I guess families too is focused on the mother," said Kozyrskyj, who is a research chair and associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Alberta.
It's long been known people carry an enormous number of bacteria in and on their bodies, most of which are benign or even helpful. For instance, friendly bacteria in the gut help protect against invaders that are ingested with contaminated food and could cause illness.
It's said bacteria in the gut outnumber the cells in the respiratory tract by a ratio of 10 to one.
In recent years, though, it has become increasingly clear the wrong balance of bacteria can have negative health implications.
Kozyrskyj and colleagues used a DNA sequencing technique to identify the bacteria in 24 babies' guts by studying a stool sample from each. The samples were taken when the babies were four months old.
They found a greater variety of bacteria in the children born vaginally as compared to those that were born by planned C-section -- though babies born by emergency C-section had an even higher variety of bacteria than those born vaginally. Infants who were exclusively breastfed had a less varied collection of gut bacteria than those who were bottle fed. But in this case, more isn't necessarily better, Kozyrskyj said. Some of the bacteria found in the stools of bottle-fed babies were the types that could cause illness, such as Clostridium difficile, which can cause diarrhea.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 12, 2013 A2
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Search and distract
Wounded veterans payments to be overhauled
Britain to offer all infants meningitis B vaccine
Let's do the twist
Sierra Leoneans to stay home in final push to stop Ebola
Canadian flights are safe: TSB investigator
Patient death in Newfoundland under review
Keep hyperbaric chamber in Moose Jaw: NDP
Assault charges against Nichele Benn dropped
Conversion therapy ban to be explored
Nova Scotia Liberals feel heat on union bill
Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film
Reserve provides training on fentanyl antidote
Alberta increases taxes and fees
Chicken product recalled
Arizona Legislature OKs abortion medication requirement
Report shows fewer smokers, but more obesity
Study: Ebola takes worst toll on babies, other young kids
New pox discovered in Eastern Europe, but not deadly
New Alberta health levy to be progressive
Couillard says no limits on access to abortion
Tips on planning end-of-life care decisions
Fentanyl sent to provinces hidden in SUVs: police
Alberta to bring in health-care levy
Angelina effect: Will Jolie's surgery inspire others?
Tories examine perils of plastic microbeads
NDP continues to call for better seniors care
Group speaks out about care home eviction
Teaching Inuit about cancer a challenge
Angelina Jolie undergoes further preventive surgery
Listeria fear prompts frozen entree recall
Walmart still evaluating need for AEDs
Alberta to ban youth from using tanning beds
Hospital overcrowding affects care: NDP
B.C. medical pot firm recalls bad bud
Alberta missing emergency care targets: NDP
As patients face death, doctors push straight talk on care
Changes for Nova Scotia nurse practitioners