Navigation Links
Could Baby's Tummy Bacteria Help Spur Colic?

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Colic is a common problem for babies, and new research may finally provide clues to its cause: A small study found that infants with colic seemed to develop certain intestinal bacteria later than those without the condition.

What the researchers aren't clear on yet is why this would make some infants go on long crying jags nightly for months. The study authors suspect that without the right balance of intestinal flora, the babies may experience more pain and inflammation.

In particular, the study found differences in two types of bacteria. One is proteobacteria. The other is probiotics, which include bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

"Already in the first two weeks of life, specific significant differences between both groups were found. Proteobacteria were increased in infants with colic, with a more-than-doubled relative abundance. These included specific species that are known to produce gas," said study author Carolina de Weerth, an associate professor of developmental psychology at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

"On the other hand, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli were increased in control infants," she said. "These included species that would induce anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, samples from infants with colic were found to contain fewer bacteria related to butyrate-producing species. Butyrate is known to reduce pain in adults. These microbial signatures possibly explain the excessive crying."

Results of the study appeared online Jan. 14 and in the February print issue of Pediatrics.

Colic affects up to 25 percent of infants, De Weerth said. It is defined as crying for an average of more than three hours a day, generally between birth and 3 months of age, according to background information in the study.

Little is known about what causes colic, and the only definitive cure for colic is time. The excessive crying usually stops at around 4 months of age, according to the study.

"Newborn crying is quite variable, and between 2 weeks and 8 or 10 weeks you can expect at least an hour of crying in a day. There may be some who cry less; some who cry more. But, babies with colic really do cry for three to four hours a day," said Dr. Michael Hobaugh, chief of medical staff at La Rabida Children's Hospital, in Chicago.

In the current study, the researchers tested more than 200 fecal samples from 12 infants with colic and 12 infants with low levels of crying (the control group). Colic was determined at 6 weeks of age.

The fecal samples were tested for more than 1,000 known intestinal microbes. There were four samples taken during the first month and then another five samples were collected between three and five months.

They showed significant differences in the microbial flora between babies with colic and those without. The researchers say these findings might lead to early screening tests for colic, or possibly for a treatment for colic.

De Weerth said it's "possible to make positive changes to the microbiota of babies with colic with the use of probiotics." She also said that the mother's diet in pregnancy and while breast-feeding could have an influence, and that adding probiotics and prebiotics (good bacteria) to infant formula might also positively influence a baby's intestinal flora.

But, not everyone's convinced that anything should be added to infant formula just yet.

"This was an interesting, intriguing study, but it's not definitive," said Dr. Peter Belamarich, medical director of the pediatric ambulatory subspecialty service at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, in New York City.

Hobaugh also said it is too early to make conclusions.

"I would be very cautious about supplementing infants with probiotics. Probiotics are generally safe and don't cause invasive infections generally, but sometimes they do. And, since colic does eventually go away on its own, the risk of potentially doing harm seems too high," he said.

But, Hobaugh said if a mother is breast-feeding, adding yogurt, which contains beneficial bacteria, to her diet would be OK. He added that he wasn't sure if it would help, though.

For his part, Belamarich advised parents to work closely with their babies' pediatrician to come up with a plan for dealing with colic. He said the first thing that needs to be done is to make sure the baby is healthy and thriving. Once you know for sure it's colic, he said the good news is that the condition hasn't been associated with any long-term problems.

He said that before parents give their babies any new foods or medicines, they should check with their child's pediatrician first.

"There are a lot of things that are difficult to treat that are targets for miracle cures. Colic is one of them. Parents should be aware that there's no miracle cure for colic," Belamarich said.

Hobaugh said that swaddling your baby can help, and suggested that parents sleep when the baby sleeps.

His final piece of advice? "Hang in there. It will get better."

More information

To learn more about colic, read this from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Carolina de Weerth, Ph.D., associate professor, developmental psychology, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Michael Hobaugh, M.D., Ph.D., chief, medical staff, La Rabida Children's Hospital, Chicago; Peter Belamarich, M.D., medical director, pediatric ambulatory subspecialty service, the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; February 2013 Pediatrics

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New treatment could combat deadly chemical agents
2. Inclusion of CTC as HEDIS screening modality could increase colorectal cancer screening compliance
3. Pap Test Could Spot Some Ovarian Cancers, Study Finds
4. Tricorder invention could put medical diagnosis and terrorism prevention in the palm of the hand
5. Postpartum depression prevalent in under-developed countries, could impact baby health and mortality
6. Cheap and easy technique to snip DNA could revolutionize gene therapy
7. Psychological Woes Could Arise During Interplanetary Spaceflight: Study
8. Psychological common ground could ease tensions among those with different religious beliefs
9. New understanding of nerve damage caused by spinal cord injury could improve treatment design
10. Revolutionary techniques could help harness patients own immune cells to fight disease
11. Previous studies on toxic effects of BPA couldnt be reproduced
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Could Baby's Tummy Bacteria Help Spur Colic? 
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... seniors, is resulting in a way for homeless people to have a more ... launched a new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping mats ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Many people ... fatigue, fuzzy-headedness, weight gain, cold hands, and dry skin. But many people who find ... diet and exercise regimen instead of their thyroid, especially if they don’t have any ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Bcureful—a non-profit ... as well as raising public awareness of the disorder while helping to bring ... donation of $35,000 to bolster progress at the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Center at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Since its launch in 2012, the ... stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, the U.S. ... Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark in order ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Students and parents have something to be thankful ... Create Real Impact awards. California Casualty is proud to support the contest ... distracted and reckless driving, the number one killer of young drivers. , Almost ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  In the pharmaceutical ... in an effort to quickly uncover new insights, tactics ... --> --> However, organizations ... market research project and ensure that all rules and ... industry standards. Another major barrier to efficiently launching market ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... NEWPORT NEWS, Va. , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... that they have signed an agreement for DILON to ... select geographies across the globe. The signing of this distribution ... GE,s Discovery NM750b Molecular Breast Imaging system and is ... ways to provide better healthcare solutions for clinicians and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015   HeartWare International, Inc . (NASDAQ: ... circulatory support technologies that are revolutionizing the treatment of ... Executive Officer Doug Godshall is scheduled to ... Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. ... New York . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: