A study published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday found that the presence of specific bacteria in a baby's gut is connected to preventing asthma later on in its life, according to The Verge. The study showed that infants that are at a high risk for asthma have lower levels of four specific bacteria species when they are three months old compared to infants who are low risk for asthma.
The findings could be used to increase the accuracy of tests that predict when children will develop asthma, as well as help in the development of microbe-based treatments for infants at risk of developing asthma.
Although asthma has a genetic component, there are many environmental factors that can contribute to the disease and this study furthers our knowledge of these factors, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"What I think is important and not so surprising to pediatricians was how important the very early life is," said Stuart Turvey, co-author of the study. "And our study emphasizes that in that first 100 days the structure of the gut microbiome seems to be very important in influencing the immune responses that cause or protect us from asthma."
Research indicates that the presence of bacteria in infants may be important and that letting infants gain exposure to them early in life is important for their development, according to CBC News.
"There's more and more evidence that modern illnesses derive from this loss of microbes - especially early in life," said Martin Blaser, a microbiologist at the NYU Langone Medical Center. "The good germs are the ones we get from mom, and those guys are disappearing."