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How mom's ethnicity and childbirth impact infant microbiota and food allergies

In a recently published paper in the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association SyMBIOTA researchers have found a causal link between caesarean section birth, low intestinal microbiota and peanut sensitivity in infants, and they report the effect is more pronounced in children of Asian descent than others.

The research team analyzed the gut bacteria of 1,422 infants in the CHILD Cohort Study, by examining fecal samples collected at three or four months of age and again at one year. They identified four typical trajectories for bacterial development, including one in which the infants had persistently low levels of Bacteroides, a type of bacteria known to be critical to immune system development. This profile was most common in babies born by caesarean section.

Babies born by caesarean section to mothers of Asian descent are eight times more likely to develop peanut allergy by age three.

Dr Kozyrskyj's main collaborator Hein Tun (pictured below), is a former post-doctoral fellow at U of A who is now assistant professor of public health at the University of Hong Kong.

The full interview of Dr Kozyrskyj and Tun on this research was featured in the University of Alberta Folio website.

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