A research study led by the University of Alberta followed more than 400 babies from the CHILD Cohort Study (CHILD) at its Edmonton site. One-year-old children with a high intestinal bacterial composition in Bacteroidetes bacteria were found to have more advanced linguistic and linguistic knowledge a year later. The finding was specific to male children.
“It is well known that female women get higher scores (at an early age), especially in cognition and language,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor of pediatrics at the U of A and principal investigator of the SyMBIOTA (Synergy in Microbiota) laboratory. . “But when it comes to gut microbial composition, it was the male babies where we saw this obvious connection between bacteroids and improved scores “.
“The differences between the male and female intestinal microbiota are very subtle, but we know from data from the infant cohort study that girls at an early age are more likely to have more of these bacteroids. Therefore, perhaps most the girls have a sufficient number of bacteroids and that is why they have improved their scores compared to the boys, ”Kozyrskyj added.
The researchers, led by Kozyrskyj and associate professor of pediatrics Piush Mandhane, studied the bacteria found in fecal samples from the babies and identified three different groups that exhibited similar dominant clusters of bacteria. They then assessed infants at various scales of neuronal development. Of these groups, only male infants with bacteroid-dominant bacteria showed signs of improved neurodevelopment.
The research replicates similar findings from a US to study which also showed an association between bacteroids and neuronal development.
According to Kozyrskyj, bacteroids are one of the few bacteria that produce metabolites called sphingolipids, which are essential for the formation and structure of neurons in the brain.
“It makes sense that if you have more of these microbes and they produce more sphingolipids, you should see some improvement in terms of forming neural connections to the brain and improvements in cognition and language,” he said.
According to Kozyrskyj, cesarean delivery is a factor that can significantly deplete bacteroids. Factors that positively influence the composition of the intestinal microbiota in infants include breastfeeding, a high-fiber diet, living with a dog, and exposure to nature and green spaces.
Although the findings do not necessarily mean that children with a lower proportion of bacteroids remain behind their peers during childhood or later adulthood, the researchers believe the study offers early promises as a way to identify potentially children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.
The team will continue to monitor infants participating in CHILD to determine if the results may be predictive of autism or attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder. To move forward, researchers are also examining several other factors that may have an impact on neurodevelopment in infants, including stress and intestinal colonization by the bacterium Clostridium difficile.
“During the first year or two of life, your brain is very malleable,” Kozyrskyj said. “We are now seeing a connection between its malleability and the gut microbiota, and I think that’s very important.”
The study, “The dominant intestinal microbiome in late childhood bacteria is associated with better neurological development,” was published in the journal Intestinal microbes.
Sukhpreet K. Tamana et al, the dominant intestinal microbiome in late childhood bacteria is associated with better neurological development, Intestinal microbes (2021). DOI: 10.1080 / 19490976.2021.1930875
Citation: Species of intestinal bacteria related to improved cognitive and linguistic skills in infants (2021, July 13) retrieved July 14, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-species-gut-bacteria- linked-cognition. html
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