Science

Researchers Associate Yeast in Babies’ Guts with Risks of Asthma

By Charles Omedo , Feb 20, 2017 03:47 AM EST
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A team of microbiologists from the University of British Columbia has found a yeast in the guts of babies indicative of asthma as babies grow. The study was carried out on Ecuadorian children and then compared with results obtained in Canada. The researchers found that a particular type of yeast in the guts of babies predisposed them to developing asthma as they grow into childhood.

About 10% of the people in Canada and Ecuador suffer from asthma

This study became necessary against the background that about 10% of the people in both Canada and Ecuador suffer from asthma. The researchers analyzed the fecal samples of about 100 children from an Ecuadorian village before identifying the problematic yeast known as Pichia. This same experiment was repeated with the fecal samples of Canadian children and the results were found to be the same, Medical News Today writes.

Meanwhile, related earlier study showed that gut bacteria helped against chances of developing asthma, but now the presence of Pichal yeast in the guts of infants show chances of having asthma. This tends to show that gut bacteria prevent asthma but gut yeast causes asthma in a sense. Since Canada is much cleaner than Ecuador, the researchers are trying to see if dirty environments played a role in linking gut yeast with risks of asthma in children, the study shows.

Drinking clean water impacts on risks of developing asthma

"Those that had access to good, clean water had much higher asthma rates and we think it is because they were deprived of the beneficial microbes," said Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at UBC. "That was a surprise because we tend to think that clean is good but we realize that we actually need some dirt in the world to help protect you." This study will serve as a basis whereby researchers will study pathogens and develop appropriate treatment for asthma.

The study was conducted by Marie-Claire Arrieta, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, and Philip Cooper, a professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The findings of the study were presented at the yearly conference of the Association for the Advancement of Science. According to Finlay, "This is the first time anyone has shown any kind of association between yeast and asthma."

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