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Microbial Boost?

Two studies plan to evaluate whether swabbing babies born via caesarian section with their mothers' microbes will boost their own microbiome and prevent disease, NPR reports.

One of the studies is taking place at the Inova hospital system and, there, researchers led by Suchitra Hourigan, a pediatric gastroenterologist, will first swab 50 babies, half with their mothers' birth canal microbiomes and half with a sterile solution, in a procedure known as vaginal seeding, NPR adds. If safe, then they plan to boost their cohort size to 800. The other study is to take place at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The thought, NPR notes, it that the procedure will lead to the microbiomes of these C-section babies to develop more like those of their vaginally delivered counterparts. And, as the number of C-section have risen around the same time as asthma, allergies, obesity, and other diseases, it may potentially cut down on disease risk as well.

"Who knows what's going to happen with the results? But if it does show something positive, I just think that would be great for kids and parents," Danielle Vukadinovich, an Inova study participant, tells NPR.