One chronic condition that many children are suffering with is asthma. The condition, which causes a person’s airway passages to both swell and narrow, while also producing excess mucus and making it hard to breathe, is one that researchers are currently studying in order to find predicting factors in children. Based on the study out of the University of British Columbia, new findings point to a type of yeast found in the guts of babies as an indicator that the child will in fact develop asthma as they get older.
A microbiologist from the University, Brett Finlay, said that children who were found to have a yeast known as Pichia ended up developing the chronic condition over time. He pointed out that this was the first time that a study had been done showing any form of correlation between asthma and yeast. The study findings were presented on February 17 at the Association for the Advancement of Science.
This was not the first study into the condition, however, the previous study looked at four bacteria present in a baby’s gut in the first 100 days of their life that actually seemed to prevent the development of asthma. That initial study took place in Canada, while their follow-up study took place in Ecuador. Both countries have much higher rates of children with the chronic condition, which is why researchers chose to look at these two places to determine what might be present to either prevent asthma, or what might be present in order to contribute to its development.
In Ecuador, they found that typically gut bacteria plays a part in stopping the condition from developing. At the same time, researchers were able to determine that the yeast or microscopic fungus Pichia being present in the gut was quite strongly linked to the development of asthma over time.
On top of determining what was present in the system in terms of prevention or possible development of the breathing condition, researchers also looked at whether or not these children had access to clean drinking water. Surprisingly enough, it was the children who had access to drinking water that was clean who were actually more likely to develop asthma, than those who perhaps had less clean water. It is believed that this is due to the fact that the children were deprived of the microbes that are truly beneficial to overall health. Essentially, it is being proven that a person actually needs some dirt in order help protect themselves from certain conditions and illnesses.
By Dorothea James