- About 6% of children globally have eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.
- While some children may outgrow eczema, many do not and experience worsened conditions.
- Researchers say they found evidence suggesting a link between the gut microbiome and eczema during infancy, which could provide prevention and treatment options.
Clinically known as atopic dermatitis, this skin condition currently has no cure.
Now, researchers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong say they have found evidence suggesting a link between the gut microbiome and eczema during infancy, a discovery that could provide potential prevention and treatment options.
The study was recently published in mSystems, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
For this study, researchers recruited pregnant females who were close to delivery to participate in the study. Information was taken on their health and lifestyle during and after pregnancy.
Researchers collected diet, medication, and health information on 112 infants after they were born.
Scientists also kept abreast of any eczema issues and followed the development of each baby’s gut microbiome by collecting nine stool samples over the child’s first three years of life.
“The problem of eczema is increasing, and our study shows it could be a result of unwanted changes in the gut bacterial content,” Dr. Paul Chan, a professor of microbiology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and principal investigator of the study, explained to Medical News Today.
“The first year of life could be a critical period to restore the gut bacteria to a more desirable composition.”
Upon analysis, researchers reported differences in the composition and diversity of gut microbiota across the first three years of the infants’ lives.
They said they discovered that how a baby is delivered, what antibiotics they are given during labor, and how they are fed influence how the gut microbiome is established over the first 12 months of life.
Additionally, scientists also found certain changes in an infant’s gut microbiome occurred right before they were diagnosed with eczema.
Researchers also reported these same patterns were observed in babies delivered via C-section, suggesting the gut microbiome may play a role in previously
After reviewing the research, Dr. Peter Lio, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago,