New studies suggest microorganisms in the womb set stage for childhood and adulthood diseases

Monday, December 28, 2015
CLEVELAND – Researchers review importance of microorganisms that exist in the gut, suggesting perturbation of the environment during pregnancy, delivery and early infancy could impact the developing baby’s early microbiome and set the stage for health problems later in life. The term “microbiome” refers to the trillions of organisms we harbor, on our skin and within our respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
 
“The Microbiome and Childhood Diseases,” a special issue of the Birth Defects Research Part C EmbryoToday scientific journal released today, is a collection of ground breaking microbiota reviews. One particularly noteworthy finding pertains to the womb environment in which the baby develops.
 
“One of the reviews, by Koleva et al., discusses the studies that reveal that the womb is not sterile and that the microbiota of the child are already developing in utero,” explained Sharon Meropol, MD, PhD, Associate Director for Research and Evaluation at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s Center for Child Health and Policy. “This means that not only do we have to consider the microbiome of the child but also that of the mother, and the irony is that some of our modern medical practices, through their effect on these early microbiota, could have unintended consequences, interfering with normal development of children’s immune, metabolic, and neurologic systems.”

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