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Protecting the Unborn and Newborn From Asthma

October 22, 2016
Plain English Version


The number of people with asthma is growing. About 300 million people worldwide have it. About 26 million people in America have it. Only 3.1 percent of the people in the U.S. had asthma in 1980. By 2010, the number rose to 8.4 percent.

Scientists think they are learning more about why so many people have asthma. A new study says it may have to do with the lack of certain bacteria in babies.

The target is called “gut bacteria.” Low levels of gut bacteria put babies at risk for asthma later in life. Babies usually are born with all the bacteria they need. Some events seem to be lowering bacteria levels now found in infants.

These events are:

  • The use of antibiotics by pregnant women
  • Delivery by caesarean section (C-section)
  • Formula feeding

Scientists say there will be a simple, stool-based test to predict the risk of asthma in infants. The use of more probiotics might lead to the prevention of asthma.

The gut bacteria are called FLVR, after the technical name for them. Experts say there is a 100-day window to get gut bacteria into a newborn. One way is through breast-feeding. Another way is to give probiotics to the infant.

A doctor said, “There’s more and more evidence that modern illnesses come from this loss of microbes. This is true especially early in life. The good germs are the ones we get from mom, and those guys are disappearing.”

Microbes are creatures too small to see. They include bacteria.

In pregnancy and in the newborn, steps can be taken to prevent asthsma

Source: The Wall Street Journal September 30, 2015

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