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Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers have uncovered changes that occur in the gut microbiomes of infants before they develop eczema, suggesting that modulating the gut microbiome could potentially treat or prevent eczema. As they report in mSystems, researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong examined the gut microbiomes of 112 Chinese children, sampled at nine time points between birth and the age of three for the Stool Microbiome and Allergic ReacTion (SMART) Baby Study. By analyzing that data in conjunction with allergy-related clinical information, the researchers found an enrichment of Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides early on among the children who developed eczema. Similar patterns, they note, are found among babies born by C-section. "The problem of eczema is increasing, and our study shows it could be a result of unwanted changes in the gut bacterial content. The first year of life could be a critical period to restore the gut bacteria to a more desirable composition," senior author Paul Chan, a microbiologist at the CUHK, says in a statement.