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Could Baby's Tummy Bacteria Help Spur Colic?
Date:1/14/2013

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 t
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