Infant Gut Microbiota

Assumption: All human guts contain similar microbiota.

FALSE
This study analyzed the gut microbiota of infants and determined that two factors significantly impacted the types of microbiota found.  The factors were elective cesarean birth and ingestion of infant formula.

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2013/02/11/cmaj.121189

My Views:
This study does not define any particular gut microbiota as “good” or “bad.”  It simply states that the make-up is *different* in babies, depending on type of delivery and what they are fed.  From here we can research how each of these microbes works and what we can do to keep our babies as healthy as possible.  So, I don’t see this study as an endpoint, but as a beginning.

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Microbes in Baby

Assumption: All babies have similar microbiota when they are born.

FALSE
In this study, babies and their mothers were tested for microbes just after birth.  The babies who were born vaginally had microbes resembling their mother’s vaginal microbes while those born by cesarean section had microbes resembling their mother’s skin.  This could explain why babies born through cesarean section often have immune systems that work differently than those of babies born vaginally.

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/26/11971.full

My Views:
This was a very small study, but is worth follow-up.  There are certainly implications here that could affect babies throughout their lives.  For example, most MRSA skin infections on infants occur in babies born via cesarean section.  Allergies and asthma are also more likely in children who were cesarean babies.  This study begins to answer the question, “Why?”