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Publishing their results in a brief communication in Nature, a multi-center team has demonstrated for the first time that they can alter the microbiomes of babies delivered via cesarean section, bringing them closer to what is seen in vaginally delivered infants.
The effort is only a first step toward determining whether this type of microbiome restoration has any clinical benefit, something that will require much larger numbers of subjects followed over long time periods to resolve, the researchers said.
Epidemiological studies, while not proving a causal relationship, have shown that C-sections are associated with a variety of undesirable effects for children, including an increased risk for allergies, immune disorders, and metabolic conditions. Differences in the microbiomes of C-section versus vaginally delivered babies has been posited as a potential mechanism for these outcomes.
In the new study, researchers from NYU, Mount Sinai, and several other institutions, recruited a total of 18 mothers and infants — seven born vaginally and 11 delivered by C-section at the University of Puerto Rico hospital in San Juan — to test a protocol that involved swabbing the newborns’ mouths, faces, and then the rest of their bodies, with a piece of gauze that had been incubated in the vagina of their mother for about an hour prior to the C-section surgery.
The team treated four of the C-section infants with this swabbing approach, while leaving the other three untreated.
Read full, original post: In Small Study, Researchers Able to Transpose Mothers’ Vaginal Microbiomes to C-Section Babies