Could yeast in the gut be a predictor of a baby’s risk of developing childhood asthma? New research involving Ecuador-born babies indicates that a specific fungus living among a baby’s gut microbes could imply an increased risk of childhood asthma. Though this is believed to be the first time that a study has linked yeast in babies’ guts with an increased risk of childhood asthma, there is speculation that the specific fungus might actually increase the risk of this condition which affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Asthma isn’t prevalent evenly across the globe. Latin America and English-speaking countries have the highest rates of asthma. India, Asia-Pacific, the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, and Northern and Eastern Europe have a lower prevalence. Medical News Today reports that less than five percent of the population in these areas live with asthma.
The research involving yeast present in the guts of Ecuador-born babies was conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia led by microbiologist Brett Finlay. The research results were presented in Boston, MA at an annual meeting for the Association for the Advancement. Finlay and a team of researchers had looked at the gut microbes of Canadian children to examine any connections to asthma. In that research, they had discovered that four types of gut bacteria seemed to prevent asthma provided that the bacteria was present in a baby’s gut by 3-months-old. As with that research, the newest research indicated that bacteria in the gut does seem to play some role in preventing childhood asthma. Perhaps more importantly, though, a type of yeast known as Pichia seems to indicate an increased risk of asthma if it is present in a baby’s gut within the very early days after birth.
Interestingly, Finlay and his colleagues revealed that areas with access to clean, fresh water had a higher rate of asthma. The researchers speculated that the fresh water might have deprived the babies of their chance to be exposed to beneficial microbes that could offset the yeast.
“The microbiome plays a major role in shaping human development. Societal effects such as antibiotic use, increased hygiene, mode of birth delivery, breast or bottle feeding, and pets all shape the early childhood microbiome, which in turn affects many aspects of normal childhood development and susceptibility to disease. The implications of living in our oversanitized world will be discussed in the context of tct of microbes on asthma susceptibility and on cognitive development.”
“This is the first time anyone has shown any kind of association between yeast and asthma,” Finlay noted.
Last year, another interesting asthma study was covered by the Inquisitr. Among Amish and Hutterite communities, there is a wide difference in asthma rates. Amish communities have a lower prevalence of asthma than the Hutterite communities do.
“The major difference between the Amish and Hutterite is the fact the Hutterite use modern technology for their farming. For example, the Amish use horses instead of machines to till the land. And, it seems, this sort of interaction with animals is what has led to a lower asthma rate among their children. The study has found that the air children breathe as they are around animals may be what is helping boost their immune systems against asthma.”
Amish barns are also much closer to their homes, the Inquisitr reported.
With the new discovery of the presence of yeast in an infant’s stomach having an association with asthma risks, Finlay and his fellow researchers intend to re-examine the samples from the earlier study of the Canadian gut microbes in order to look for the recently discovered fungus.
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