Will Baby Have Allergies? First Poop Might Tell

By Cara Murez
HealthDay reporter

THURSDAY, April 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – An infant will generate a lot of poop in their first year of life, but the very first one may offer key clues about the risk of developing allergies.

The researchers analyzed meconium samples from 100 babies enrolled in the CHILD Cohort Study, a long-term study of the health of children in Canada. Meconium is a dark green substance made up of what the fetus ingests and excretes in the uterus, from skin cells and amniotic fluid to molecules called metabolites. A newborn baby usually passes meconium during the first day of life.

The study found that the fewer different types of molecules in a baby’s meconium, the more likely the child was to develop allergies by age 1.

“Our analysis revealed that newborns who developed allergic sensitization at one year of age had significantly less ‘rich’ meconium at birth, compared to those who did not develop allergic sensitization.” , said Dr. Brett Finlay, co-lead author of the study in an article. liberation from the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is a professor in the university’s Michael Smith Laboratories and in the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as Microbiology and Immunology.

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The researchers also found that a reduction in certain molecules was associated with changes in key bacterial groups that play critical roles in gut microbes, which are important for both health and disease.

“Meconium is like a time capsule, revealing what the infant has been exposed to before birth. It contains all kinds of molecules encountered and accumulated by the mother in the womb, and then it becomes the initial food source for the first intestinal microbes. Explained study author Dr. Charisse Petersen, associate researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at UBC.

“This work shows that the development of a healthy immune system and microbiota can actually begin long before a child is born – and indicates that the tiny molecules an infant is exposed to in the womb play a fundamental role. in future health, ”said Petersen. in the version.

The researchers used a machine learning algorithm to predict with 76% accuracy, which they said was a more reliable level than ever before, whether or not an infant would develop allergies by age 1. The results of the study have important implications for infants at risk. , said the authors.

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“We know that children with allergies are most at risk of developing asthma as well. We now have the opportunity to identify at-risk infants who might benefit from early interventions even before they start showing signs and symptoms of allergies or asthma later in life. Said Dr. Stuart Turvey, co-lead author of the study, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and co-lead of the CHILD cohort study.

The results were published on April 29 in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.

More information

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has more information on allergies in children.

SOURCE: University of British Columbia, press release, April 29, 2021

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