The Scientist reports: The gut microbiomes of young children don’t fully recover from the trauma of early-life malnourishment, even after they are treated with more-complete diets, according to a study published in Nature. A team led by Jeffrey Gordon of the Washington University in St. Louis sampled the gut microbiomes of healthy and malnourished children in Bangladesh and found that the microbiomes of children who were underfed and whose diets lacked essential nutrients looked less like those of adults and more like those of younger, healthy children.
“This is actually a real step forward in terms of having a technique to look at development of the microbiome in children,” said Josef Neu, a pediatrician at the University of Florida who studies gastrointestinal health of neonates and was not involved in the work.
The findings present a possible explanation for the commonly observed complications that malnourished children suffer even after they are treated with a standardized food regimen, including stunted growth, cognitive delays, and immune system problems. The researchers suggested that the immature gut microbiomes of malnourished children may be partially responsible for some of these long-term impairments. [Continue reading…]