Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DiVersity, dIverSity, dIVERsity, dIverSITY- you have to love it!

Ever wonder if your health is effected by the type and variety of bacteria living in your intestines?
Well researcher Abrahamson et al. did and my patients ask me this question at least once a week.  

Abrahamsson et al. (JACI 2012;129:434-440) recently published research that that looked at the type bacteria and microdiversity (variety among the same type of bacteria) of bacteria in infants with and without eczema over the first year of life.

The results are fascinating!  

Infants followed who had eczema had lower total diversity and decreased microdiversity of bacteria (Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria) when compared to infants free of eczema at 1 month.  After 12 months, the trend for decreased types of of Proteobacteria continued and stool in bacteria became less diverse.  Infants without eczema had greater numbers of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria at 1 year.  

This study was far from conclusive, but adds to a growing body of literature that the type and variety of bacteria living in our gut does influence the development of allergic disease.  Controversy exists over which is more important- the diversity of the specific type or the actual bacteria the development of allergy in infants.  Researchers continue to work on this question, so stay tuned!  

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