Scientists at the University of Minnesota have created a predictive model for measuring healthy development of bacteria in the gut of young children and a framework to map potential links between antibiotics, gut bacteria, and disease later in life. The research is described in an article published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
Studies have shown that antibiotics can have both short- and long-term effects on the diversity and composition of bacteria in our bodies and other research has indicated that gut bacteria could play a role in adult disease. Imbalances in gut microbes (dysbiosis) have been linked to infectious diseases, allergies and other autoimmune disorders, and obesity later in life, although no definitive causal relationships have been established.
Pajau Vangay, a graduate student fellow in the Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology program, and colleagues, designed a predictive model for measuring healthy development of bacteria in the guy of young children. This framework intends to provide a map of the possible connections between antibiotics, gut bacteria, and disease later in life. For example, changes triggered by antibiotic regimens in young children could lead to increased levels of short-chain fatty acids that affect metabolism and obesity later in life.
The researchers also found that an infant’s age could be predicted within 1.3 months based on the maturity of their gut bacterial. This could lead to the development of a clinical test and interventions for children with developmentally delayed microbiome due to antibiotics or other factors and possibly the prevention of chronic diseases later in life.
For more information visit UMN.edu.